After the above article was written [i.e., the article on the Spyplane incident], news came through that the Bush administration, although for the time being failing to agree the sale of Arleigh-Burke class destroyers with a sophisticated Aegis radar system – the most sensitive weapons system requested by Taiwan – decided to sell to the latter eight diesel submarines, a dozen P3 submarine hunting aircraft, a few mine-sweeping helicopters and four decommissioned Kidd class destroyers. The sale represents “…
the most impressive package for Taipei in nearly a decade”
25 April), aimed at altering the balance of forces across the Taiwan Strait and diluting the PRC’s naval capability, sends a clear message that US imperialism is determined to maintain Taiwan as an independent entity in clear breach of its commitment to a policy of one China. A Chinese official, objecting to the latest arms package for Taiwan, quite correctly stated: “
Nobody can say that submarines are defensive weapons. It is clear that the US is forming a closer and closer military relationship with Taiwan which is directed at China”
25 April, 2000, ‘Strait talking’).
The sale, which comes in the wake of the EP-3 incident, is and is clearly intended to be provocative. But it will not intimidate the PRC, nor will the supply of these weapons go unchallenged. China will protest against the sale most robustly. As a result the eight diesel submarines, considered to be the most offensive of the weapons in the package, might never be delivered, for the US, which went nuclear four decades ago, neither uses nor manufactures diesel submarines. Germany and the Netherlands build these machines and all the indications are that they will not go along with the US administration’s decision, over which they were not consulted. Europeans have their own commercial interests to look after. Germany, China’s biggest European trading partner, is hardly likely to want to upset China.
As for China, it too can retaliate in various ways, ranging from an accelerated modernisation of its own armed forces, to vetoing US initiatives at the UN Security Council, causing economic mayhem in Asia through simple measures such as devaluation of her currency at times most inconvenient for US imperialism and its allies, and repudiating its informal undertaking to abide by the spirit of the Missile Technology Control Regime and sell weapons technology to regimes opposed to the US. US imperialism will not be allowed to assume the role of proconsul in the far east – that much is beyond doubt.