Sat, Nov 01, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Arms purchases now tamperproof, minister says


Taiwan's major military procurement plans have been institutionalized, with decisions being made systematically, Minister of National Defense Tang Yiau-min (湯曜明) said yesterday.

"Once the decisions are made, no individuals are supposed to exert personal clout to alter the decisions," Tang said at the Legislative Yuan.

Tang said that since he assumed office, he has seen to it that all major military and weaponry procurement projects have been implemented systematically, with the Ministry of National Defense (MND) hammering out procurement draft plans first. The drafts are then approved by the Executive Yuan and submitted to the Legislative Yuan for passage before those plans are actually carried out.

Tang made the remarks at the Legislative Yuan in response to questions regarding Taiwan's military purchases from the US.

In a rare visit to the Legislative Yuan on Thursday, a group of US Navy officials actively lobbied a submarine sales plan to Taiwan -- a procurement that would cost between NT$300 billion and NT$400 billion for eight diesel-powered submarines.

The US group, headed by Gibson LeBoeuf, deputy chief of the US Navy International Program Department, expressed its hope at the Legislative Yuan that Taiwan's Legislature will pass the budget for the submarine procurement project by July next year to pave the way for speedy implementation of the plan. The US officials were apparently not very agreeable to notions that Taiwan's state-run China Shipbuilding Corp undertake the building of the eight diesel submarines.

They were quoted by opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kao Chung-yuan (高仲源) as saying that China Shipbuilding had better not take part in building the submarines.

They said that China Shipbuilding's capability to assemble ships is probably adequate, but its capabilities for developing weapon systems, dynamic systems and electronic instruments are inadequate, according to Kao.

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