Relations between the US and China have famously deteriorated during the Trump presidency, but one often overlooked outcome of these fraught relations is US weapons sales to Taiwan. In 2020 US weapons sales to Taiwan have greatly increased, a move set to have massive implications for future relations between the US and China and possibly the world at large.
Taiwan is in a complicated situation in regard to its political and legal status as a sovereign state, a situation that stems from the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, which gave rise to a stalemate across the Taiwan Straight. Both the Mainland People's Republic of China and the Taiwanese Republic of China governments have historically claimed to be the rightful government of China at large, but both sovereignty claims and relations between the two sides have changing over time. Presently a general status quo is accepted, in which both sides interpret the legal status of Taiwan differently, and this situation has been criticised for its instability and potential to lead to military conflict. It is against this backdrop and deteriorating US-China relations that the US is increasing its arms trade with Taiwan.
Is the US simply using the issue to pressure Beijing or is there serious concern over Taiwan's sovereignty or status?
Is Mainland China provoking this turn of events with their increasingly aggressive military expansions and territorial claims in the region?
What is the real reason for the dramatic increase in US weapons sales to Taiwan?