President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended developments in cross-strait relations as positive for foreign relations, and said the government will consider more arms procurements from the US to strengthen national defenses and maintain cross-strait peace.
In a meeting with US Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Presidential Office, Ma said developments in cross-strait relations do not conflict with US-Taiwan relations and promised to continue to promote peace across the Taiwan Strait.
“The government will improve relations with mainland China and expand cross-strait exchanges. We believe that peace across the Taiwan Strait will be the first line of defense in the national security of the Republic of China,” he said.
Including arms sale of US$12.5 billion less than three years into his presidency, the US government has provided US$18.3 billion of weapons to Taiwan, Ma said.
The US government has promised to deliver arms packages that include 30 AH-64E Apache helicopters this year, 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters next year and PAC-3 air defense units in 2015.
Ma thanked Murkowski for pressing the US government to authorize the long-stalled sale of F-16C/D aircraft to Taipei, and said the government will not rule out the possibility of pursuing more arms deals with the US in the future.
He also discussed the dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), which are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China and referred to as the Senkaku Islands in Japan.
Ma reiterated that the government continues to view the islands an integral part of Taiwan’s territory.
The government expects the involved parties to reduce tensions by negotiation and discuss jointly developing the resources in the area, while putting aside differences over sovereignty.