Former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) director William Stanton on Friday said that the US has never said it would stop selling weapons to Taiwan, adding that US arms sales to Taiwan are necessary.
He also cited the US’ Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), saying he felt US arms sales to Taiwan are imperative.
Stanton, senior vice president for global affairs at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, was responding to media queries about an article written by Bloomberg View columnist Josh Rogin that said the US government is close to announcing a US$1 billion arms deal with Taiwan.
“Washington will likely offer Taipei transfers of missile frigates, about a dozen AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles, one replacement AH-64 Apache helicopter and munitions, including Stinger, Javelin and TOW missiles,” Rogin wrote in his Nov. 25 column, citing unnamed US officials.
The arms package, the first to Taiwan in more than four years, is likely to be announced formally in the second half of next month, Rogin cited the officials as saying.
Asked if such US arms sales would anger China, Stanton said the US has been consistent in saying it must provide Taiwan with necessary weapons.
Stanton, who chose to remain in Taiwan after he stepped down as AIT director and retired from the US foreign service in 2012, said he does not represent the US government anymore, but added that the US stance remains unchanged.
On Thursday, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said the ministry has not received any information from the US about the reported arms sales.
The TRA was enacted in 1979 to maintain commercial, cultural and other unofficial relations between the US and Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
The act also requires the US “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.”
The six assurances given under then-US president Ronald Reagan’s administration refer to assurances of not agreeing to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan, not to hold prior consultations with China on arms sales to Taiwan, not to play any mediation role between Taipei and Beijing, not to revise the TRA, not to alter the US position regarding Taiwan’s sovereignty and not to exert pressure on Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China.
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