Mon, Mar 21, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Legislator asks PFP to support arms bill

CNA , TAIPEI

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator called on the legislative caucus of the People First Party (PFP) yesterday to refrain from boycotting the inclusion of a statute governing major arms procurements in the agenda of the Legislative Yuan.

Lai Ching-teh (賴清德), a whip of the DPP legislative caucus, made the appeal after the PFP legislative caucus said at a recent news conference that it will be against the inclusion of the Cabinet-proposed "statute for major arms procurements" on the legislature's agenda.

The proposed statute regarding a plan to buy six Patriot PAC-III anti-missile batteries, eight diesel-electric submarines and a squadron of 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft from the US was approved by the Cabinet last Wednesday and presented immediately to the legislature for discussion.

The ceiling for the procurement package was marked down from the original NT$610.8 billion to NT$480 billion (US$15.48 billion) in the new proposal because a plan to build the submarines in Taiwan was dropped, while the new Taiwan dollar has appreciated against the US currency.

Lai said that the DPP legislative caucus will take the initiative to negotiate the issue with its PFP counterpart.

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