Wed, Jul 17, 2019 - Page 1 News List

MND denies US arms overpriced

PURE SPECULATION:The defense ministry said that such claims by the media constituted slander against the nation’s military, urging them to be more careful

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday rejected a news report that Washington was making the nation pay an extra NT$20 billion (US$644.29 million) for an arms sales package approved by the Pentagon, which is to include 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks and related equipment.

The Legislative Yuan during its previous session approved NT$40 billion for the package, which does not match the figure of US$2 billion given by the US Department of Defense, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday.

The newspaper said that the difference, likely the result of Washington pressure, meant that the ministry would need to request more funds from the legislature.

Taipei’s acceptance of the price hike could be the result of political considerations, it added.

The ministry yesterday rejected the United Daily News report, saying that such speculation constituted slander against the nation’s military, and called on the media to oversee themselves better.

The package was lawful and the budget would be spent under lawmakers’ scrutiny, it said, but did not explain the pricing difference.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times) said the discrepancy might have been a difference between “items required” by the nation and “items available for sale” in Washington.

It could also stem from costs arising from engineering collaborations, key technological transfers and ancillary equipment that the US has recommended that the nation purchase, the report added.

The army would assess its combat needs based on the budget granted by the legislature, the ministry said.

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