Sun, Sep 03, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Next two months crucial for relations: US official

STAFF WRITER

This year is crucial to the development of Taiwan-US relations and the next two months will be crucial months that decide whether Taiwan-US relations would strengthen, stagnate or even go backward, a senior US official said yesterday.

The anonymous official made the remarks in an interview with the Central News Agency.

According to the CNA report, the US official said that the Legislative Yuan's willingness to transcend partisan interests and demonstrate its determination to defend Taiwan would affect the US government's views toward Taiwan.

In the six years since Taiwan's transfer of power, the US has waited for Taiwan to adjust to its new political climate, but now the US has started to doubt whether Taiwan is simply relying on the US to come to its defense and doesn't care about procuring defensive weaponry, the official reportedly said.

Saying that the US government had noticed the Taiwanese government had increased its military budget, the official said now it was waiting to see whether the arms procurement budget will be passed in the Legislative Yuan's upcoming session which is scheduled to reconvene on Sept. 19.

He pinpointed this month and next as two crucial months in relations because the US has realized that these months present the last chance that the arms bill has any chance of being passed in the Legislative Yuan.

After November, Taiwan will enter the campaign period for December's mayoral elections to be held in Taipei and Kaohsiung and that next year will be a campaign year in the lead-up to the legislative election and the 2008 presidential election, the official said.

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