US aims to profit from Taiwan arms sales

The Taipei 101 skyscraper commands the urban landscape in Taipei, Taiwan. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The United States is attempting to profit from arms sales and turn Taiwan into a weapons depot after a group of US defense contractors visited the island for "defense" cooperation with the Democratic Progressive Party authorities, analysts from the island said.

Some 25 US arms dealers visited Taiwan this week and attended a forum at the Taipei International Convention Center, where they discussed plans to collaborate with Taiwan on production of military equipment.

The group was headed by Steven Rudder, a retired US three-star general and naval aviator, who said at the forum that the US wants to be part of the "defense" capabilities of Taiwan and improve the supply-chain resilience of the island, according to reports.

Kao An-kuo, a retired general in Taiwan, said the US is inciting military conflicts around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is seeking to turn Taiwan into a weapons depot in order to profit from arms sales.

Ji Xin, publisher of The Observer magazine, said if a war broke out on Taiwan, the US will not have time to send military equipment to the island. It wants to turn Taiwan into a weapons depot and even take direct command of the island's army, she said.

US think tanks have conducted many military simulations of a possible conflict between the mainland and Taiwan, and the results show that regardless of how it ends, the island would be reduced to ruins, Ji said.

The visit was met with strong opposition from residents and various political groups, who organized a protest near the convention center on Wednesday. During the protest, participants chanted in English, "No war, we want peace!" and "No weapons, we want peace!"

Authorities on the Chinese mainland expressed opposition to the visit and warned it could result in disaster for Taiwan.

Zhu Fenglian, spokeswoman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said last week that the US arms dealers are accustomed to inciting conflicts and profiting from wars and the US government is accustomed to sheltering them.

In the past six years under the DPP authorities, the island has spent $22 billion of Taiwan people's hard-earned money to buy weapons from the US, she said, adding that the move is not "protecting" but "destroying" the island.

Chen Fu-yu, vice-president of the Cross-Strait Peaceful Development Federation, said: "These military simulations only told us how many planes and ships would be destroyed in a conflict, but they never told us how many Taiwan people would die. They are pushing our children toward death."

Chung Chin, former director-general of Taiwan's information office, said in the past seven years under the administration of the DPP's Tsai Ing-wen, warmongers and opportunistic politicians have traveled to Taiwan to try and profiteer.

"The money spent was from the Taiwan taxpayers, so Tsai didn't care, and the DPP authorities could make gains from it," she added.

Wu Jung-yuan, chairman of Taiwan's Labor Party, also expressed concerns over the DPP's decision to invite the arms dealers to create a military base in the region.

He warned the move to establish a base on the island would place Taiwan in a dangerous position that could potentially lead to a conflict.

Calling on the people of Taiwan to reject war, demand peace and improve people's livelihoods, Wu said peace across the Taiwan Strait requires joint efforts of Chinese people on both sides.