Sat, Aug 24, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Ma stays firm on commitment to US arms purchases

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou, right, receives an incense stick during a ceremony on Kinmen to mark the 55th anniversary of a 44-day bombardment by the Chinese army, in this handout photograph taken and released by the Taiwan Presidential Office yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP / Taiwan Presidential Office

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday stressed the “six assurances” issued by the US government and said the government will continue arms procurements with the US to safeguard national security.

“Although cross-strait developments have reached their most peaceful stage in 64 years, it does not mean we do not face national security threats. We will continue to purchase arms from the US,” he said during a visit to Kinmen.

Ma’s comments came amid Chinese media reports that the US has given a “positive response” to a Chinese government proposal to discuss such arms sales with Beijing.

The president reiterated the “six assurances,” under which the US government promised not to set a date for the termination of arms sales to Taiwan, nor to hold prior consultation with China regarding such arms sales, and said the US has denied the Chinese media reports.

Washington has clarified that US-China working groups would be set up to deal with issues of mutual concern, but said that arms sales to Taiwan are not set to be covered, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Ma made the remarks while visiting Kinmen to attend a ceremony marking the 55th anniversary of an artillery battle between then Republic of China military and the People’s Republic of China.

The president rang a peace bell at a memorial service for soldiers and civilians killed in the conflict, that began on Aug. 23, 1958.

Later yesterday while meeting members of the US Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Ma thanked the US for its firm stance on arms procurement deals with Taiwan, and reiterated that his administration will continue purchasing arms from the US to maintain Taiwan’s national defense capabilities.

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