Members of the US Congress have reaffirmed that there will be no changes to the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), a delegation of lawmakers who recently returned from the US said yesterday.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Herman Shuai (帥化民) said that he and other members of the Taiwan-US Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association received that assurance during their meetings with several congressional members last week.
The US lawmakers stated clearly that revising the TRA was not part of mainstream political thought in the US, Shuai said.
“They are just the voices of individuals who are in the minority,” Shuai said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲), who also joined the delegation, confirmed that US lawmakers and several administrative officials said that Washington would continue to sell arms to Taiwan under the terms of the TRA.
Aside from Shuai and Twu, the delegation included KMT legislators Lii Ming-shing (李明星), Liao Wan-ju (廖婉汝), Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) and Kuo Su-chun (郭素春).
They met six US House representatives and one senator, to whom they conveyed the Taiwanese government’s determination to purchase F-16C/D aircraft, Hsu said.
The delegation told the US officials that the budget for the purchase would not be a problem if the US agreed to sell Taiwan the aircraft, she said.
The US is skeptical about Taiwan’s determination to buy the fighters, saying Taiwan’s national defense budget is less than 3 percent of its GDP, she said.
The delegation’s visit has not produced any concrete progress on the F-16C/D issue, Shuai said.
“The US did not reject the proposal, but neither did it make any promises,” he said.
US congressional members and administrative officials would like the Taiwanese government to specifically request the F-16C/Ds, Twu said.
The US is under the impression that Taiwan wants upgrades for its fleet of 144 F-16A/Bs, but the delegation made it clear that in addition to the upgrades, Taiwan wants the 66 F-16C/Ds it has sought since 2006, Twu said.
The delegation also raised the issue of resuming talks under the US-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), Hsu said.
The talks have been suspended for years, most recently because of a spat between the two sides over Taiwan’s ban on US beef exports that contain residues of a lean-meat enhancing drug.
The delegation told the US officials that the situation in the US and Taiwan differs, adding that Taiwanese would not accept products unless they pose “zero risk” to their health, Hsu said.
Nonetheless, they assured the US officials that the government would continue with the public on the issue, she said.
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