The US has assured Taiwan that its arms sale policy will not be discussed during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to China next week, Foreign Minister Timothy Yang (楊進添) said yesterday.
Reports last month speculated that Biden was to inform Beijing during his visit that the administration of US President Barack Obama had decided to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16A/B aircraft, while refusing to sell it the more advanced F-16C/Ds requested by Taipei.
Biden’s visit to the region beginning on Tuesday will also take him to Mongolia and Japan.
Taiwan has learned from the US government, through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US and the America Institute in Taiwan, that Biden will not touch upon arms sale issue during his visit, Yang said.
Among the “Six Assurances” that were made to Taiwan by the administration of former US president Ronald Reagan in 1982, following the US-China “817 Communique” that limits US arms sales to Taiwan, the US promised it would not set a date for termination of arms sale to Taiwan and would not consult China before making a decision about arms sales to Taiwan.
“So far, the US has not only repeatedly reaffirmed the two promises, it has completely lived up to its word,” Yang said.
In a press statement on Friday, the White House said Biden would meet Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) to consult on a broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues, and would also visit Chengdu in Sichuan Province.
The visit by Biden is at the invitation of Xi as part of planned reciprocal visits by the nations’ top deputy leaders announced earlier this year, it said.
Yang said the US had said it would respect the ministry’s request to be abreast of developments by briefing Taiwanese officials on Biden’s visit to China before and after the trip.
In related news, the People’s Daily yesterday published an article by senior editor Ding Gang (丁剛), in which he wrote: “It’s time for China to use its ‘financial weapon’ to teach the US a lesson if it moves forward with a plan to sell weapons to Taiwan.”
Ding said that the US Congress “has totally ignored China’s core interests,” with 181 members of the US House of Representatives sending a letter to president Obama to push for the sale of 66 F-16 C/Ds one day after the House passed a deal on raising the debt ceiling.
The US Treasury obtained authorization to issue US$400 billion in new debt after the US Senate passed the debt ceiling bill on Aug. 2, which was then signed into law by Obama, Ding said.
“Despite knowing that major creditor countries, especially China, would be the main buyers of its new debt, certain arrogant and disrespectful US Congress members have totally ignored China’s core interests by pressuring the president to sell advanced jets and even an arms upgrade package to Taiwan,” Ding wrote.
He said US arms sales to Taiwan would create more jobs for the US, but could not enhance the capability of Taiwan’s military to enable it to compete with China.
“The essence of the problem is that some US Congress members hold a contemptuous attitude toward the core interests of China, which shows that they will never respect China. China-US relations will always be constrained by these people and will continue to follow a roller coaster pattern if China does not beat them until they feel the pain,” he said.