Sun, Aug 23, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan needs US weapons: Yuan

LEVERAGETaiwan’s top representative to the US said defensive weapons sold to Taipei under the Taiwan Relations Act would help it in negotiations with Beijing


Taiwan needs the US to continue supplying defensive weapons to develop its military strength as it engages and negotiates with China, the country’s top representative to the US said in Chicago on Thursday.

Speaking at a luncheon organized by the National Strategy Forum (NSF), a Chicago-based think tank, Jason Yuan (袁健生) said US President Barack Obama would follow the Taiwan policy adopted by his predecessor, former US president George W. Bush, of providing Taiwan with necessary assistance.

The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) states that the US must continue to provide Taiwan with adequate military weapons to safeguard its national security.

Because President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has actively improved relations with China since taking office last year, Yuan said, the Taiwan Strait is no longer a military flashpoint, a development that is in the US’ interest.

Nevertheless, Taiwan still needs to reinforce its military muscle to strengthen its position in negotiations with China, Yuan told an audience made up of members from the political, economic and academic communities in the Chicago area.

Yuan said he was convinced that the US would honor its commitment to furnish Taiwan with military hardware and services in accordance with the TRA.

Responding to questions, Yuan said cross-strait negotiations were now focusing on topics related to people’s livelihoods.

As the political systems on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait remain vastly different, Yuan said, bilateral negotiations on political topics would be shelved for the time being.

Postponing solutions to political issues is the majority view in Taiwan, he said.

Yuan assured the audience that in its engagements with China, Taiwan would pursue a Taipei-Washington-Beijing “win-win-win” scenario on the basis of common interests.

Saying that the US is Taiwan’s most important ally, Yuan added that both countries share a belief in a democratic and liberal political system.

On the devastation wrought by Typhoon Morakot, Yuan said Taiwan appreciated the assistance offered by the US and 70 other countries.

Such aid indicated Taiwan was not alone in the international community, he said.

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