Fri, Jul 20, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Arms sales to continue, says expert

NO CHANGE A senior US researcher said that no matter which party wins the US election, Taiwan will be supplied with suitable defensive arms

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, WASHINGTON

The results of the US presidential election are not expected to significantly affect the US government's arms sales policy toward Taiwan, a think tank academic said on Tuesday.

Michael Swaine, a senior researcher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), made the remarks after attending a CEIP-sponsored seminar on China's military modernization and Taiwan's security.

The latest edition of Defense News, a US weekly, indicates that Taiwan has reiterated its desire to order US-made F-16 C/D fighter jets but is now facing an obstacle in striking a deal with the US.

The reports quoted US sources as saying the administration of US President George W. Bush is likely to approve the sale after the US presidential election in November next year and that should the Democratic Party win, it will be less sympathetic toward Taiwan.

Nevertheless, Swaine said, no matter which party comes to power, US arms sales policy will be consistent in supplying Taiwan with sufficient defensive weapons.

Swaine also said the US government is not expected to link its sales of F-16s to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) plan to push for a referendum on Taiwan's bid to join the UN under the name "Taiwan" alongside next year's presidential election.

Responding to Chen's plan unveiled last month, US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said that "the United States opposes any initiative that appears designed to change Taiwan's status unilaterally. This would include a referendum on whether to apply to the United Nations under the name of 'Taiwan.'"

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