Multi-billion-dollar arms deals around the world are in the works this week, sparking fears that they could signal increased tensions between world powers like China, Russia and the United States.
China has sharply criticized the proposed $2.2 billion arms deal between the US and Taiwan and has called for it to be cancelled immediately. Beijing has also claimed that it sees this deal as a direct national security threat from the US.
Now, the location and history are notable because Taiwan is a small island near the coast of China, but China considers Taiwan to be one of its territories. The controversy over whether Taiwan is part of China has been ongoing following the country’s split into the People’s Republic of China in 1949. While the US recognizes Taiwan as an independent nation, China still claims ownership, and it is now claiming the US is intentionally interfering by proposing the latest arms deal with Taiwan.
The United States is the main arms supplier to Taiwan and it has a history of working with the island nation. But in terms of arms sales with the US, Taiwan falls behind countries like Saudi Arabia, Australia, the UAE, and South Korea.
A $2.2 billion deal with Taiwan would be significant, and it is coming at a time when the US and China are in the midst of a trade war, so as China has warned, it could hinder the possibility of a deal between Washington and Beijing.
Turning to another major arms deal, the United States has issued its own warning to India, following news that the country plans to purchase Russia’s S-400 air defense system, and it is arguing that if India moves forward with that deal, it could have serious consequences.
But instead of backing down, the latest reports claim Russia is offering India even more cutting edge technology, which includes advanced submarines and the latest generation of fighter jets that would be produced locally in India as part of the deal.
The US has previously offered to sale India weaponized drones, and there is speculation that the US could offer access to its latest generation of fighter jets, if India refrains from working with Russia.
But so far, India has continued to move forward with Russia, and it could receive the first installments of Moscow’s S-400 system as early as next year.
Speaking of Russia’s air defense system, Turkey is also moving forward with its purchase, and Moscow has announced that it is now in the process of delivering its S-400 air defense system to Turkey. This has occurred despite continued protests from the US, claiming that Russia’s system poses a direct risk to NATO.
A State Department official was quoted as saying, “We underscore that Turkey will face very real and negative consequences if it completes its S-400 delivery.”
Now, it’s not clear exactly what those consequences will be, but it could have a major impact if the US decides to retaliate against its NATO ally.