The US Congress was yesterday officially notified of a proposed US$330 million arms sales package to Taiwan involving spare parts for several aircraft, including F-16 warplanes and C-130 cargo planes, and related logistics and program support elements.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient, which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region,” the US Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
The proposed sale is the second weapons deal from US President Donald Trump’s administration following a US$1.42 billion deal in June last year.
The US Congress has 30 days to raise objections to the sale, although this is unlikely, given that the US Department of State has determined that Taiwan continues to be “an important force for political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region.”
The government yesterday expressed its gratitude for the proposed sale. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said it was a manifestation of the US government’s commitments toward Taiwan as stipulated in tis Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the “six assurances.”
“As Taiwan faces growing threats, the sale would not only enhance our defensive capability, but also boost our confidence in self-defense, which is conducive to the maintenance of cross-strait peace and stability,” Lee said.
The “six assurances” were issued by then-US president Ronald Reagan in 1982, stipulating that the US would not set an end date to arms sales to Taiwan, would not alter the TRA, would not hold consultations with China over arms sales to Taiwan, would not mediate between Taiwan and China, would not pressure Taiwan to negotiate with China and would not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) also expressed the office’s gratitude for the proposed arms sale, saying that with strengthened defensive capability, Taiwanese would be more confident in the face of dire security challenges, and be better equipped to ensure peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region.
“Based on this foundation, we can continue to pursue the positive development of cross-strait ties,” Huang said, adding that the government would remain in close communication with Washington on defense and security issues.
The government would also do its part by increasing its investment in national defense and facilitating the research and development of the nation’s defense industry and technology, he said.
The Ministry of National Defense said the deal signified the great emphasis the US placed on Taiwan’s national security, adding that both sides would continue to consolidate their security partnership and contribute to long-term stability in the region.
“This case-by-case approach in military sales could be more efficient than previous practices of big packages,” defense ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) told Bloomberg by telephone.
“We hope military purchases in the future can be discussed case by case in order to enhance efficiency,” Chen said.
The Chinese government yesterday demanded that the US cancel the new deal, warning of “severe damage” to bilateral relations and mutual cooperation if it fails to comply.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) told a regular briefing that the sale violated international law and the “basic norms governing international relations.”
Bloomberg said a US Congressional Research Service report showed the US$330 million package is the smallest stand-alone offering since then US-president George W. Bush approved a US$125 million sale of anti-ship missiles in 2007.
Additional reporting by agencies
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