US to sell Taiwan $180m of torpedoes, angering China

US is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 21 May 2020

US to sell Taiwan $180m of torpedoes, angering China

  • The US has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan
  • The proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests

TAIPEI: The US government has notified Congress of a possible sale of advanced torpedoes to Taiwan worth around $180 million, further souring already tense ties between Washington and Beijing, which claims Taiwan as Chinese territory.
The United States, like most countries, has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to provide the democratic island with the means to defend itself. China routinely denounces US arms sales to Taiwan.
The US State Department has approved a possible sale to Taiwan of 18 MK-48 Mod6 Advanced Technology Heavy Weight Torpedoes and related equipment for an estimated cost of $180 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today,” it added.
The proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting Taiwan’s “continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” the agency said.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China had lodged “solemn representations” with Washington about the planned sale.
China urged the United States to stop all arms sales to, and military ties with, Taiwan to prevent further damage to Sino-US relations, Zhao added.
The US announcement came on the same day Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in for her second term in office, saying she strongly rejecting China’s sovereignty claims. China responded that “reunification” was inevitable and that it would never tolerate Taiwan’s independence.
China has stepped up its military drills near Taiwan since Tsai’s re-election, flying fighter jets into the island’s air space and sailing warships around Taiwan.
China views Tsai as a separatist bent on formal independence for Taiwan. Tsai says Taiwan is an independent state called the Republic of China, its official name, and does not want to be part of the People’s Republic of China governed by Beijing.


“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

Updated 31 May 2020

“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

  • Troops can go in ’very quickly,’ Trump says

CHICAGO: The firestorm of protest, arson and looting that has consumed the US for five days began at the counter of an Arab American grocery store.

Staff working for Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, called Minneapolis police after George Floyd, 46, twice tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make a purchase.

Officers who arrested Floyd held him to the ground with a knee on his neck, as he pleaded that he could not breathe. He lost consciousness and died later in hospital. One officer has been charged with third-degree murder and further charges are expected.

“What took place outside … was not in our hands,” Abumayyaleh told US TV. “The murder and execution was something done by the police, and it was an abuse of power. The police brutality needs to stop.”

Abumayyaleh said he knew Floyd as a customer, and as someone who was always pleasant. He did not find out until the following morning that the man had died. “We were all outraged,” he said, and Floyd “may not have even known that the bill was counterfeit.”

The store owner and his sons, Samir, Adam and Mahmoud, have gone into hiding in the face of a wave of threats against them on social media. They took down their store’s Facebook page and its landline phone has been disconnected.

Minneapolis has more than 50 Arab- and Muslim-owned stores mostly north of where the incident occurred, all operating under statewide COVID-19 restrictions. Arab store owners said they feared speaking out publicly about the incident.

An unidentified man who answered the phone at one Arab-owned store told Arab News that both the killing of Floyd and vandalism against businesses “is wrong.”

Since Floyd died last Tuesday, protesters have vandalized, looted and burned down more than 200 stores in Minneapolis. On Friday and Saturday, the violence spread to New York, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte North Carolina.

In Minnesota, protesters maintained a daily vigil in front of the Cup Foods store at 3759 Chicago Avenue, painting walls and the street with murals and graffiti in memory of Floyd. After four nights of confrontations in the city, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the state’s national guard on Saturday for the first time since the Second World War.

US President Donald Trump said troops could be deployed if local authorities requested their help. “We could have our military there very quickly,” he said.