China says ready to ‘smash’ Taiwan self-rule as US prepares major arms package

China’ is prepared to “resolutely smash any form of Taiwan independence,” its military said Tuesday, as the U.S. reportedly prepares to accelerate the sale of defensive weapons and other military assistance to the self-governing island democracy.
China’s People’s Liberation Army “continues to strengthen military training and preparations and will resolutely smash any form of Taiwanese independence secession along with attempts at outside interference, and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Tan said, in a reference to Taiwan’s closest ally, the United States. China claims the island of 23 million people as its own territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary. With the world’s largest navy, latest-generation fighter jets and a huge arsenal of ballistic missiles, China has been upping its threats by sending planes and warships into waters and airspace around Taiwan. With more than 2 million members, the PLA also ranks as the world’s largest standing military, although transporting even a portion of the force in the event of an invasion is considered a huge logistical challenge.
Along with daily air and sea incursions around Taiwan, Beijing has held military exercises in and around the Taiwan Strait dividing the sides, seen in part as a rehearsal for a blockade or invasion that would have massive consequences for security and economies worldwide.
Such actions seek to harass Taiwan’s military and intimidate politicians and voters who will choose a new president and legislature next year.
The moves appear to have had limited effect, with most Taiwanese firmly in favor of maintaining their de facto independent status. Politicians and other public figures from Europe and the U.S. have also been making frequent trips to Taipei to show their support, despite their countries’ lack of formal diplomatic ties in deference to Beijing.
Tan’s comments were prompted by a question from an unidentified reporter about reports that U.S. President Joe Biden is preparing to approve the sale of $500 million in arms to Taiwan, as well as sending more than 100 military personnel to evaluate training methods and offer suggestions for improving the island’s defenses.
Taiwan enjoys strong support from both the U.S. Democratic and Republican parties.

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