Wed, Jun 26, 2019 - Page 3 News List

AIT reassures on US arms sales

Staff writer, with CNA

Part of the American Institute in Taiwan compound in Taipei’s Neihu District is pictured on May 10.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

The US’ decades-long stance in providing Taiwan with weapons has not changed, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday, after reports that US President Donald Trump’s administration has temporarily set aside an arms sales package to Taiwan to reach a trade deal with China.

“There has been no change to our policy, which is that US arms sales to Taiwan are guided by the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA] and based on an assessment of Taiwan’s defense needs,” AIT acting spokesman Aaron Huang said.

“Our long-standing policy on arms sales to Taiwan has been consistent across multiple US administrations. We believe our consistent policy has contributed to the security of Taiwan, and has also supported the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” he added.

Time magazine on Monday quoted an anonymous US defense official as saying that US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin was holding up a final decision on selling advanced US tanks and other equipment to Taiwan ahead of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on the sidelines of this week’s G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

The Wall Street Journal on Monday last week cited three anonymous White House and administration sources as saying that the US administration is divided over the impact the US$2 billion-plus arms sale could have on its efforts to reinitiate trade talks with China.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week said it would continue to work closely with the Trump administration and the US Congress to push for the sale.

In related news, the National Ministry of Defense yesterday said it closely monitored the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning as it passed through the Taiwan Strait earlier in the day.

The carrier, accompanied by other Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy ships, sailed north through the Strait on its way back to it home port in Qingdao, Shandong Province, the defense ministry said.

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