PRC tells US to drop sale
China’s defense minister yesterday called on the US to drop a planned weapons sale to Taiwan, saying it threatened China-US defense cooperation, state media reported. Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie (梁光烈) also called on Washington to cease all military ties with Taiwan, during a meeting in Beijing with the visiting former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, Xinhua news agency said. “The US arms sale to Taiwan has poisoned the sound atmosphere of bilateral military relations and endangered China’s national security,” Liang was quoted as telling Myers. The Pentagon notified Congress in October that it planned to sell US$6.5 billion in military hardware to Taiwan. The sale was expected to include advanced interceptor missiles, Apache attack helicopters and submarine-launched missiles. The US Defense Department has said the proposed sale was aimed at improving Taiwan’s defenses and would not alter the basic military balance in the region.
Tremor jolts nation
A 6.0-magnitude earthquake jolted the nation yesterday, but there were no immediate reports of damage, casualties or tsunamis, seismologists said. The undersea tremor struck at 5:18am about 54km east of Hualien at a depth of 35km, it said. The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 5.3.
Ex-KMT legislator indicted
The Kinmen Prosecutor’s Office last night indicted former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Wu Cherng-dean (吳成典), his wife and one of his staffers for allegedly embezzling NT$6 million (US$178,700) during Wu’s two legislative terms. Prosecutors sought a 15-year prison sentence for Wu. They received a tip-off earlier this year that Wu had allegedly embezzled payments reserved for legislative aides between 2002 and earlier this year. Prosecutors said Wu’s wife, Deng Yen-hsi (鄧琰係) and the director of Wu’s Kinmen office, Hsu Li-hung (許勵宏), helped embezzle the money even though they knew it was from public funds. Wu last night protested his innocence and said he would appeal.
Diane Lee still denies claim
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) yesterday continued to defend herself against Democratic Progressive Party speculation that she has US citizenship. Lee reiterated her claim that she automatically lost her US citizenship when she began serving as a public official in Taiwan in 1994. Lee presented a document she said she had obtained from US State Department official Edward Betancourt last Thursday, saying that the department had not and would not discuss the results of its investigation into her US citizenship status until the probe had been concluded. Lee held the press conference after Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrew Hsia (夏立言) told the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee meeting yesterday morning that the ministry had received a response from the American Institute in Taiwan’s Washington headquarters regarding the legislature’s inquiry about the nationality status of all of the nation’s lawmakers. Hsia said the ministry would send the response to the legislature directly since the legislature’s inquiry was labeled as confidential.