Highlights

The United States Department of State finally approved the sale of 4 sophisticated armed drones to Taiwan (Republic of China) on 3 November 2020. This is the latest approval in a series of arms transfer to the Republic of China.

Points To Note

  • United States Department of State approved $600 million sales of unmanned General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drones to Taiwan.
  • Unmanned drones would help in improving the defences of Taiwan.
  • It will bolstering intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of Republic of China.
  • The sale of the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drones would further boost the Taiwan’s efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.
  • It would also assist the nation in maintaining political stability, military balance and progress there.
  • The United States of America would be supplying four drones.

Importance

MQ-9 Reaper drones would come with ground stations and associated surveillance and communications equipment. It is the first such sale after the Trump administration eased the United States policy to restrict the export of drone technology.

Mainland China’s reaction

The Defence Deal have angered China because People’s Republic of China considers Taiwan as a renegade province. Mainland China continuously threaten to bring the self-governing Taiwan under its control even if it has to force. On the flip side, Taiwan heavily rely on United States for its security and United States remains its main ally.

General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drones

MQ-9 Reaper drones have been made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. MQ-9 Reaper drones are also known as Predator B. It is an unmanned aerial vehicle which is capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. MQ-9 Reaper is the first hunter-killer UAV that have been designed for long-endurance and high-altitude surveillance. MQ-9 Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower turboprop engine which allows the drone to carry 15 times more ordnance payload.

Backdrop

The current ruling Communist Party of china (Chinese Communist Party) claims Republic of China. Taiwan was spit from Mainland China in 1949 during a civil war.

China-Taiwan issue

After the First Sino-Japanese War (1 Aug 1894 – 17 Apr 1895 conflict between the Qing dynasty of China and the Empire of Japan), the Qing dynasty Government ceded Taiwan to Japan. Later in world war II, Mainland China took over the control Taiwan from Japan and began ruling the island with the consent of United Kingdom and United States. However, in few years a civil war broke out in China and troops of Chiang Kai-shek were beaten by the Communist armies. The Communist army was then under the control of Mao Tse-Tung.

In 1949, Chiang and remnants of Government of Kuomintang (Nationalist Party of China) fled to Taiwan.

About One Country Two System

The famous Mainland China constitutional principle “One Country Two System” was established in Hong Kong. China tried to reunify Taiwan too under the principle. They also offered to provide autonomy to the Taiwanese after reunification.

About Taiwan in United Nations

Taiwan shall be recognized as an independent country if it gains United Nations membership. Till date, Taiwan has not become an official member of the United Nations. It is still recognized as a province of Mainland China. Recently, there were issues over reinstating the observer status of Taiwan at the WHO. United States backed Taiwan and China opposed.

Taiwan Economy

Taiwan economy is highly dependent on the People’s Republic of China. The Taiwanese companies have invested more than $60 billion in China and upto 1 million Taiwanese live in Mainland China.

Why is Taiwan important for United States?

The United States of America uses Taiwan as a gateway to trade and invest in China. Republic of China is an alternate to escape from Chinese sanctions, taxes.

US approves $600 million sale of armed drones to Taiwan US approves $600 million sale of armed drones to Taiwan