US President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to announce new arms sales to Taiwan after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) scheduled for early next month in Florida, US media have reported.
An article published on Tuesday on the Washington Free Beacon Web site said that the Trump administration “is now preparing to provide more and better defensive arms to Taiwan,” citing administration officials familiar with internal discussion about the issue.
“The new arms package, however, is not expected to be made public until after Trump meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping next month,” it said.
It also quoted White House officials as saying that the meeting is set for early next month at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Former US president Barack Obama’s administration blocked a US$1 billion arms sale to Taiwan in December last year that had been approved by the US Department of State and the Pentagon, the article said.
That coincided with a controversial telephone call on Dec. 2 last year between then-US president-elect Trump and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Asked about the possibility of new arms sales to Taiwan, Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross said he would not discuss “pre-decisional matters,” the Beacon reported.
US arms sales have contributed to stability in the Taiwan Strait by providing Taipei with the confidence needed to purse constructive interaction with Beijing, Ross added.
Meanwhile, the New York Times also reported on Tuesday that the Trump administration is expected to “sell Taiwan a robust package of weapons, a gesture that reliably infuriates China.”
The sale would revive memories of Trump’s “unorthodox decision” to take a telephone call from Tsai, before publicly questioning the US’ “one China” policy, it said.
The reports came ahead of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first trip to Asia as the nation’s top diplomat.
Tillerson is due to visit Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing later this week.
Taiwan is expected to be a major topic of discussion at both the summit between Trump and Xi, as well as Tillerson’s visit to Beijing, the Beacon said.
The Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday said it had “no comment” about the reports.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) told the Chinese-language Apple Daily that while she welcomes arms sales to Taiwan, Taipei should nevertheless have the autonomy to choose what to purchase rather than accepting wholesale what the US has to offer.
Taiwan has the capability to manufacture on its own some of the arms that Washington has sold it in the past, Lu said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said it is key that Taipei has a clear idea about what arms it needs and what the US can offer.
Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
The US House of Representatives’ China Task Force, launched by Republicans earlier this year, yesterday proposed the China task force act, a package of 137 pieces of legislation, seven of which involve Taiwan, in the hope of getting it passed before the 117th US Congress convenes on Jan. 3. The act encompasses a wide range of issues, including combatting Beijing’s influence around the globe, establishing the US’ dominance in determining 5G network standards and means for bringing UN members to task for abusing their influence within the UN system. The seven acts involving Taiwan address concerns such as the Taiwan Assurance Act
Chinese health authorities investigating a COVID-19 outbreak have said that they discovered live coronavirus on frozen food packaging, a finding that suggests the virus can survive in cold supply chains. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday said that it had found traces of live COVID-19 on the outer packaging of frozen cod in the eastern city of Qingdao, marking the first time that live coronavirus has been detected on the outside of refrigerated goods. Researchers were investigating the source of a cluster of cases linked to a hospital in Qingdao. Genetic traces had previously been found in samples of
A Chinese soldier apprehended earlier this week by the Indian Army after he strayed across a tense de facto border was on Tuesday night handed back to China, an Indian government source in New Delhi said yesterday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had on Monday been captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said in a statement. The Chinese military also released a statement, saying that Corporal Wang Yalong was handed over early yesterday. New Delhi on Monday said that it had detained Wang after he crossed into Indian-controlled territory, while China announced that Wang had gotten