Thu, Apr 19, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Ignore China on US arms sales: report

’JUST THREATS’:The report said that the administration of US President Barack Obama had no cause to be timid over selling advanced F-16 jets and submarines to Taiwan

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

However, a close examination of actions taken as a result, show them to have very limited sting — leaving the US with “considerable freedom of action.”

The report also said that barring a substantive reduction in the Chinese missile force aimed at Taiwan, the US will continue arms sales for the foreseeable future.

It added: “Excessive caution on new arms sales to Taiwan risks legitimizing PRC [People’s Republic of China] use of military coercion.”

The US’ failure to sell F-16C/D jets and assist Taipei in acquiring diesel-electric submarines appears to stem from fear of Beijing’s “anticipated response rather than from Taiwan’s needs.”

If the US went ahead with the F-16 and submarine programs, the report says that the strongest possible political protest would be the withdrawal of Beijing’s ambassador to Washington.

Beijing could also suspend military-to-military relations and adopt less restraint in its licensing of sensitive and militarily relevant technologies to Iran and North Korea, or it could seek to punish US economic interests in China.

However, this last economic option would be limited because of the potential negative effects on broader Chinese interests and because economic and trade-based retaliation could result in the US bringing a case before the WTO.

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