The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday delinced to comment on a Chinese-language newspaper report that the Pentagon's Comparative Testing Office (CTO) will send a delegation to Taiwan on Saturday to study the possibility of buying military equipment from Taiwan.
"We have no comment on the report," MND spokesman Rear Admiral Liu Chih-chien (劉志堅) said.
But a ministry official who asked to remain anonymous said the US delegation will be on a routine US military-equipment procurement trip.
Taiwan is one of 22 countries from which the Pentagon buys military equipment. The US has been interested in buying some equipment from Taiwan because of its low cost and good quality, the report said, but arms exports from Taiwan usually proceed quietly.
The report said the delegation, sent by the CTO, is composed of six military officers from the US Army, Air Force and Marine Corps. They plan to meet with MND officials and more than 20 high-tech manufacturers, including China Shipbuilding Corp, MITAC Technology Corp and Acer Inc, the paper added.
The delegation will visit Taiwan's arms-manufacturing facilities at Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park to evaluate Taiwan's manufacturing capabilities, the paper said.
In addition to evaluating military procurement possibilities, the delegation will also discuss the possibility of military technology transference and indigenous weapons production capabilities, the report added.
The paper said the delegation has a list of itmes it is seeking to procure, inluding some 300 items. The items include ammunition, portable computers, satellite telephones, infrared equipment, garments, electronic devices and bullet-proof vests.
"The CTO will submit a report to the Pentagon in June, and if the deal goes through, the Pentagon will then place orders," the paper added.
The MND official said a deal between Taiwan and the US would benefit both countries. While Taiwan purchases high-tech weapons from the US that it is unable to produce by itself, Taiwan can sell low cost, high quality military equipments to the US.
"Both countries could not only neutralize the gap in military spending between the two," he added.