Sun, Sep 18, 2005 - Page 3 News List

US Congressmen may visit


A group of US congressmen has tentatively decided to visit Taiwan next month to exchange views with government officials and legislators on the country's long-stalled arms procurement package from the US.

US Congressman Rob Simmons is arranging the delegation, which will mainly comprise members of the Committee on Armed Forces of the US House of Representatives.

The delegation will come for Double Ten National Day celebration activities on Oct. 10 and will meet with legislators to discuss national security.

The congressman originally hoped that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would help solve differences within the opposition pan-blue alliance of the KMT and its ally, the People First Party (PFP), and work toward early passage of the arms procurement package.

Ma recently turned down an invitation from the Taiwan Caucus -- a pro-Taiwan group in the US House of Representatives -- to visit Washington, DC this month to explain the pan-blue camp's opposition.

However, Ma said that he and the KMT caucus will ensure that Taiwan's defensive capability is strengthened and that relations between the US and Taiwan are further cemented.

Taiwan's opposition-controlled Legislative Yuan blocked discussion of the package for the 28th time earlier this week, refusing to allow it to be put on the legislative agenda.

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