The Ministry of National Defense should hold further negotiations with the US on the price of the arms deal before the Legislative Yuan reviews the budget, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said again yesterday.
\nWang reiterated that he would also help push the statute governing the arms deal through the Procedure Committee this legislative session for review in the relevant committees.
\nWang's statement came in response to US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Lawless' warning to Taiwan in Phoenix two days ago.
\nLawless said that if Taiwan continued to delay passing the budget, the US and other countries might begin to doubt Taiwan's determination to defend itself, and that it might become a burden for other countries.
\n"The Legislative Yuan, out of concern for tax payer money, hopes that the Ministry of National Defense will negotiate with the US further on the price and get a fair quote for the Legislative Yuan's review," Wang said.
\nWhen asked about when the Legislative Yuan would pass the statute and the budget, Wang said there was no hurry.
\n"The submarines and the anti-missile system Taiwan is purchasing will be delivered in two to three years' time at the earliest, and in 15 years at the latest. So it won't make a big difference to spend a few months reviewing the statute and the budget," Wang said.
\n"The Legislative Yuan will review the statute and the budget carefully and make a decision based on the consensus of all caucuses," Wang said.
\nWang also said that the Legislative Yuan would stick to three principles: first, to allow the statute to be reviewed in relevant committees before the legislative elections, and second, the budget can be reviewed only after the statute is reviewed and passed.
\n"Lastly, the Legislative Yuan also has to guard the peoples' money and make the best judgment for Taiwan," Wang said.
\nThe pan-blue caucuses were unhappy with Lawless' speech, and said the US had no right to interfere with Taiwan's domestic affairs.
\nPeople First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (
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