Fri, Aug 05, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan’s ‘freedom of action’ in danger

IRREVERSIBLE:A professor at George Washington University said Taiwan could not reverse its path, regardless of which party wins the presidential election in January

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Washington

Reminded that a substantial number of members of both houses of Congress had recently written to Obama urging him to sell F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan, Sutter said that most people he talked to believed the president would agree to upgrade Taiwan’s older F-16A/B aircraft, but would not sell Taiwan the much needed F-16C/Ds.

He said that the upgrades would probably satisfy a lot of the members of Congress who signed the letters supporting F-16C/D sales.

“Yes, Congress likes Taiwan and when the president of Taiwan wants something, they support it, but what they are prepared to do about it if there is a big blow up with China, I am not sure,” he said.

However, he said, the F-16C/D sale was not “on the cards” anyway and so the congressional letters to Obama were “not a real test of how strong sentiment over Taiwan really is or isn’t.”

In response to other questions, Sutter said that he thought Taiwan and China were heading toward a convergence.

“Is this bad for the United States? I don’t think so. It doesn’t have to be if it is peaceful. If Taiwan says, ‘This is what we want,’ what is the US supposed to do — say we object?” he said.

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