US President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to announce new arms sales to Taiwan after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) scheduled for early next month in Florida, US media have reported.
An article published on Tuesday on the Washington Free Beacon Web site said that the Trump administration “is now preparing to provide more and better defensive arms to Taiwan,” citing administration officials familiar with internal discussion about the issue.
“The new arms package, however, is not expected to be made public until after Trump meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping next month,” it said.
It also quoted White House officials as saying that the meeting is set for early next month at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Former US president Barack Obama’s administration blocked a US$1 billion arms sale to Taiwan in December last year that had been approved by the US Department of State and the Pentagon, the article said.
That coincided with a controversial telephone call on Dec. 2 last year between then-US president-elect Trump and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Asked about the possibility of new arms sales to Taiwan, Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross said he would not discuss “pre-decisional matters,” the Beacon reported.
US arms sales have contributed to stability in the Taiwan Strait by providing Taipei with the confidence needed to purse constructive interaction with Beijing, Ross added.
Meanwhile, the New York Times also reported on Tuesday that the Trump administration is expected to “sell Taiwan a robust package of weapons, a gesture that reliably infuriates China.”
The sale would revive memories of Trump’s “unorthodox decision” to take a telephone call from Tsai, before publicly questioning the US’ “one China” policy, it said.
The reports came ahead of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first trip to Asia as the nation’s top diplomat.
Tillerson is due to visit Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing later this week.
Taiwan is expected to be a major topic of discussion at both the summit between Trump and Xi, as well as Tillerson’s visit to Beijing, the Beacon said.
The Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday said it had “no comment” about the reports.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) told the Chinese-language Apple Daily that while she welcomes arms sales to Taiwan, Taipei should nevertheless have the autonomy to choose what to purchase rather than accepting wholesale what the US has to offer.
Taiwan has the capability to manufacture on its own some of the arms that Washington has sold it in the past, Lu said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said it is key that Taipei has a clear idea about what arms it needs and what the US can offer.
Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua
‘DEMOCRATIC FISH’: Soichiro Hayashi said he wants to return Taiwan’s kindness after it helped with relief efforts after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami Japanese fish farmers are ready to help Taiwan after China banned Taiwanese grouper imports, the Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday. The Chinese General Administration of Customs suspended imports of the fish on Monday last week, citing prohibited chemicals and excessive levels of oxytetracycline allegedly found in grouper imports since December last year. Soichiro Hayashi, president of the Hayashi Trout Farm in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, is leading the push for Taiwanese grouper imports, the newspaper said. His call has caught the attention of several large sushi chains, the report said. Hayashi, who is the Fukushima branch head of the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association in Japan,
‘TROJAN HORSE’ SCHEME: The comment that a bridge would allow China’s PLA to easily launch an attack shows ‘a lack of backbone,’ Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said Critics accused Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) of being oblivious to national security concerns after he proposed constructing a bridge to link Kinmen and China’s Xiamen (廈門). Ko, who is also the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) chairman, made the proposal when presiding over the opening ceremony of the party’s office in Kinmen on Saturday. He said the bridge could solve Kinmen’s population, electricity and garbage problems, as well as serve as a shortcut for leaving or entering Taiwan without traveling via Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport). He also proposed building a hospital in Kinmen to attract people who are seeking medical treatment in
OVER THE HUMP: In a seven-day period ending on Wednesday, the nation reported 366,628 new cases, down 19 percent from the 451,358 reported in the previous week The nation might further open up to more arrivals in the next two months, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 48,283 new local COVID-19 cases, down from more than 50,000 in the previous few days. Taiwan on Wednesday last week introduced a plan to allow up to 25,000 arrivals per week as part of efforts to gradually reopen borders, which includes reducing mandatory quarantines for inbound travelers from seven to three days, followed by four days in “self-initiated epidemic prevention.” The quota covers inbound Taiwanese arrivals, businesspeople and migrant workers. Former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday said
CECC UPDATE: Officials said the definition of a confirmed COVID-19 case has been revised to include those who are positive in a PCR home test confirmed by a doctor The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that it would probably list monkeypox as a category 2 notifiable communicable disease today or tomorrow. The WHO is to convene an emergency committee meeting today in accordance with the International Health Regulations to discuss whether the spread of monkeypox to 39 countries, including 32 non-endemic countries, constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. On Tuesday, the Singaporean Ministry of Health confirmed its first imported case of monkeypox, which is also the first case reported in Southeast Asia. South Korea yesterday reported its first confirmed case of monkeypox — a South Korean national who