King declined to elaborate what trade irritants exist between Taiwan and the US that some lawmakers said have made the latter hesitant to support Taiwan’s inclusion in the TPP negotiations, citing confidentiality.
Asked to assess if China is an obstacle to Taiwan’s TPP bid, King said he was “not 100 percent sure,” but he has never heard from US officials that China is a factor in the decision.
Regarding arms sales, King said diesel-electric submarines “top the list of Taiwan’s most-wanted weapons from the US.”
Taiwan for years has requested eight diesel-electric submarines from the US to counter China’s increasingly advanced naval capabilities, but the US has not produced diesel-electric submarines domestically since the 1950s.
Asked whether there are talks on the possibility of the US transferring its production technologies to enable Taiwan to produce the submarines, King said he could not comment.
Another issue of concern to lawmakers was the quality of US weapons.
Six AH-64E Apache helicopters, recently delivered to Taiwan as a first batch, have been grounded for safety checks due to a malfunction in a helicopter of the same model used by the US Army.
Meanwhile, a malfunction was also found in the flight control system on board two of the 12 P-3C marine patrol aircraft.
DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said she suspected the US was pressed by China to provide Taiwan with faulty weapons.
Records showed that Taiwan failed to get weapons as advanced weapons those obtained from the US by Japan, Australia, Japan, Indonesia and India at the same price, signaling that Taiwan’s strategic position was in decline, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Cheng-hsiang (陳鎮湘) said.
King promised to convey the concerns to the US.
With regard to the wish of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at this year’s APEC summit in Beijing, King said he did not know what opinions the US has on the issue because it was never brought up.