The Democratic Progressive Party has done nothing to its credit since taking office in Taiwan region, with a particularly striking lack of vision on the island’s economic growth and long-term development.
Within the island, the DPP’s TWD 880-billion (USD 30.8 billion) Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program has almost turned into a “railway expansion program”; outside the island, Taiwan authorities’ space on the international stage increasingly [shrank] due to its denial of the “1992 Consensus” that reflects the “One China” principle, and its so-called “New Southbound Policy” has also turned out to be a fiasco.
However, the DPP authorities have finally created a world record recently that set it above the world.
William Brent Christensen, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan’s Taipei office, announced this record that Taiwan is acknowledged as the biggest buyer of American weapons and equipment in 2020 with the annual contribution of TWD336.3 billion (USD 11.8 billion) through arms deals with the US, leaving the rest of the world far behind.
That means, according to some media reports, every one of the 23.57 million Taiwan people has paid about TWD14,500 (USD 508.2) on average for military expenses this year. The US sold USD10.72 billion worth of weapons and equipment to Taiwan last year, which is allegedly expected to rise by USD5.2 billion in 2021, although this was later denied by Taiwan defense authorities. If the deals took place, Taiwan would have spent more than USD70 billion on buying American arms through the years, equivalent to nearly TWD 2 trillion.
Taiwan netizens have poured criticisms to DPP on its “feat”. One netizen said, “the AIT has certified Taiwan as the biggest sucker in US arms trade”. And others slammed the DPP for “buying a pile of expensive scrap metal,” “recovering garbage at a high price” and “being America’s largest junk warehouse.”
In addition to signing more arms deals with Washington this year, the Taiwan authorities have kept on its usual practice of paying a much higher price than the market price, even higher than what’s paid by India for certain equipment, indicating how eager the DPP is to ingratiate itself with the US.
Have the American weapons and equipment helped improve Taiwan’s military strength and combat force then? During the past year, the Taiwan military has had constant accidents and events during exercises and training, with their aircraft and armored vehicles becoming high-risk equipment and caused severe non-combat attrition. Service members on the island are so worried and anxious that even maintaining the previous level of combat force has become “mission impossible,” not to mention any improvement.
While Washington has walked away with full pockets, the Taiwan military’s combat capability has been on the decline. The relationship across the Taiwan Strait has slipped further down the road of possible armed conflicts without any sign of going back to the right track of peaceful development. It’s safe to say that the DPP authorities have pushed the island further to the edge of a cliff with the hundreds of billions of dollars of “protection fees”.
Regarding the so-called “military interactions” between the US and Taiwan region, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), said earlier that the Taiwan question matters for China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, is vital to China's core interests, and allows for no foreign interference. Any attempt of using Taiwan to contain China or seeking "Taiwan independence" with force is a dead-end road.