Tue, Oct 17, 2017 - Page 3 News List

White House job openings hampering Taiwan-US defense ties: council head

Staff writer, with CNA

US President Donald Trump’s failure to fill many of the top posts in his administration has hampered defense cooperation between Taiwan and the US, US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers told a news conference on Sunday.

Hammond-Chambers said that although he is “frustrated,” he is still optimistic about ongoing defense cooperation between the two nations.

Helping Taiwan build indigenous defensive submarines is a set US policy, but the US Department of State has since September last year failed to grant authorization to US firms seeking to offer technical support for Taiwan’s Dutch-built Zwaardvis-class submarines.

The department did not say “No,” but the situation in Washington is that there is no one to make a decision, Hammond-Chambers said, and the vacant posts have affected the implementation of defense security plans between Taiwan and the US.

He said he agrees that Taiwan’s insufficient defense budget has had a negative effect on its ability to upgrade its air combat capabilities and deter threats.

Advanced fifth-generation jets would give Taiwan unique and strong defensive capabilities, he said, adding that if the US cannot provide Taiwan with Lockheed Martin F-35 jets, then it should come up with a feasible alternative plan.

The conference, held from Sunday to today in Princeton, New Jersey, is a platform for dialogue on Taiwan’s national security needs, weapons procurement and defense cooperation with the US.

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