The Pentagon has confirmed that it did not agree to consult with China about sales of weapons to Taiwan when US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Chinese Minister of Defense General Chang Wanquan (常萬全) in Washington in August.
Following the meeting, Chinese official Guan Youfei (關友飛) announced that Hagel had agreed with Chang’s proposal that the US and the PRC establish a joint task force on the issue of arms sales.
“I believe it is a bad idea for the United States to invite aggressive powers into consultations on the security of America’s treaty allies or partners for whom the US has statutory security commitments,” US Representative Michael McCaul said in a letter to Hagel.
“I ask that you confirm that the US is fully committed to the defense of Taiwan and does not consult with China about sales of weapons to Taiwan, and that you affirm that we don’t have a policy of self-restraint on weapons sales to Taiwan,” McCaul said in the letter.
In a reply released on Friday, US Undersecretary of Defense James Miller said the US government’s approach to Taiwan was founded on the three joint US-China Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).
“This approach has been a constant for eight US administrations and will not change,” Miller said.
“As a matter of policy, and consistent with previous assurances we have given to Taiwan, the United States does not consult with China prior to a decision to sell arms to Taiwan, and did not agree to do so when General Chang met with Secretary Hagel,” Miller said in the letter.
Miller said that the administration of US President Barack Obama would continue to make defense articles and services available to Taiwan in such quantity as may be necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.
“The Department of Defense views support to Taiwan as consistent with both the TRA and with US security interests to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” Miller said.
Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) President Mark Kao (高龍榮) said he was pleased with the Pentagon’s letter, which showed that the Chinese side had tried to give a “false impression” after the Chang-Hagel meeting.
“As Taiwanese-Americans we are happy to have so many good friends in [the US] Congress who are supportive of Taiwan,” he said.