Sun, Mar 13, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Delegation urges US to sell weapons to Taiwan

THE LONG WAY:While the US does not make diesel-electric submarines, but it could buy them from Japan, upgrade them and sell them to Taiwan, Parris Chang said

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

The US should sell Taiwan the weapons it requires to deter Chinese aggression, former National Security Council deputy secretary-general Parris Chang (張旭成) said on Wednesday in Washington.

“Taiwan has lots of defense needs in the face of the growing threat from China,” he told a roundtable discussion hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Chang was part of a delegation of senior former officials from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) visiting the US for talks with members of the US Congress, think tanks and foreign policy experts.

“We have heard lots of talk about US concerns over Taiwan’s defense needs, but we need action,” Chang said.

He said it is important for the US to know that China is not its friend.

Chang called for robust US-Taiwan defense cooperation so that Taiwan “can truly be free from intimidation.”

He pleaded for the administration of US President Barack Obama to sell Taiwan advanced fighter jets, diesel-electric submarines and improved missile technology.

Chang also urged Washington to improve and increase high-level military dialogue between the two nations.

Chang said he acknowledges that the US has stopped making diesel-electric submarines, but added: “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

He said the US could buy submarines from Japan, upgrade them, equip them with new systems and then sell them to Taiwan.

It would take a decade for Taiwan to build its own submarines, while going the Japan route might only take four years, Chang said.

“We really need this deterrent weapon and we hope our message will get to the [US President Barack Obama’s] administration, because this is the one thing that would show the US really cares, is trying to help and is not just talking,” he said.

Chang said the delegation, which includes former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲), has already talked with members of the US Congress, urging them to attend the inauguration of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

“We would like to see the Obama administration send a high-ranking delegation to attend the inauguration — it would mean a great deal to Taiwan,” he said.

Chang said that Taiwan was facing “considerable pressure” from China in the wake of Tsai’s election.

“The Chinese want her to say in her inaugural speech that she will accept the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ and will accept the ‘one China’ principle — this I am sure she will not do,” he said.

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