Tue, Oct 18, 2011 - Page 3 News List

US official says strong Taiwan good

PARTICIPATION:Lawmakers from Taiwan, the US and Japan met at a forum to discuss regional security, where Timothy Yang said Taipei hoped to enter a security mechanism

Staff Writer, with CNA

The US should sell Taiwan F-16C/D aircraft because doing so would be in its best interest, a US lawmaker said yesterday at an international security conference in Taipei.

“We need to empower Taiwan” in the face of China’s huge military buildup, US Representative Peter Roskam said in a comment on cross-strait issues at the first session of the ROC (Taiwan)-US-Japan Trilateral Conference: Security Dialogue.

The one-day conference, hosted by Taiwan’s Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies and the Washington-based think tank Project 2049 Institute, marked the first time lawmakers from the three countries have met to discuss ways to strengthen regional security.

“Taiwan has to be strong,” Roskam said, despite the agreements it has signed with China and the expanded cross-strait economic exchanges of recent years.

According to Roskam, the Republican chief deputy whip in the US House of Representatives, “nothing good happens when Taiwan is uncertain.”

In addition, he said, Taiwan is a democracy worthy of US support. He added his belief that “the sale of the F-16s” is the “straightforward way” to demonstrate such support.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said at the conference’s opening ceremony that many countries are working to enhance trade with China, as the country is growing so fast economically.

However, China lacks transparency in its military buildup and that makes its neighbors uneasy, he said.

Yang added he hoped Japan and the US would facilitate Taiwan’s participation in regional security arrangements in East Asia.

“The lack of Taiwan’s participation in such a mechanism will create a loophole in the maintenance of security in the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) also expressed hope that Taiwan could strengthen exchanges with Japan and the US in related areas to contribute to long-term peace in Asia.

He also reiterated Taiwan’s ongoing efforts to maintain its self-defense capabilities, which he said was also vital for preserving peace.

Late last month, the US government announced that it would help upgrade Taiwan’s existing 145 F-16A/Bs rather than sell the more advanced F-16C/Ds Taipei has repeatedly requested since 2006. According to US government officials, however, the sale of the F-16C/Ds to Taiwan is still under consideration.

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