I haven’t heard from anyone about the option of arming Taiwan with the latest American weapons, primarily as a bargaining chip to force China to cut off North Korea’s oil supplies. Despite what people say about Japan, Taiwan is the number one issue, as far as die-hard Chinese communists go. You don’t read about it much here in the US, but reunification is a huge issue among the ruling elite in China.
Recently, I’ve read about mainland Chinese political pressure getting the US to back down in selling Taiwan some of our newest destroyers and submarines. The US arming Taiwan is analogous to China keeping North Korea afloat. And I can think of nothing better to force the Chinese hand than to sell Taiwan some F-117s, Patriot missiles and Aegis destoyers. These defensive weapons would make “reunification” with Taiwan extremely costly, if not impossible, to the mainland Chinese.
Some background here.
The US has been trying to sell Taiwan more weapons for some time now, including missiles and submarines, but the opposition party KMT has blocked action on these purchases. President Bush has apparently blocked a more recent request for 66 F-16s from Taiwan until it agrees on the previous package and/or shows more willingness to defend itself.
Here’s a recent background article.