Taiwan is to submit a letter of request to purchase Lockheed Martin F-35 jets, top defense officials told their US counterparts at the Monterey Talks in Hawaii last week, the highest-level defense dialogue between the two nations.
Although US officials prior to the talks privately urged Taiwanese officials on several occasions to forgo asking for the jets, National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General York Chen (陳文政) told them at the meeting that Taiwan remains committed to the request, an anonymous government source said.
US officials were cited by the source as saying that US President Donald Trump’s administration cannot agree to sell Taiwan the fighters, and the nation should consider its defense needs pragmatically.
The delegation was headed by Chen, Vice Minister of National Defense Admiral Pu Tze-chun (蒲澤春) and Major General Hung Kuang-ming (洪光明), the deputy military attache.
The US officials at the meeting included US National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs Mathew Pottinger and US Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense David Helvey.
No senior US Department of State officials attended.
The US officials said all arms sales to Taiwan approved by the Trump administration have been weaponry or equipment requested from former-US president Barrack Obama’s administration, the source said.
Taiwanese officials were told that the request for F-35 jets would require a new letter that must be evaluated by the departments of state and defense, the source said.
While it is relatively easy for Taiwan to buy stockpiled missiles and other munitions, it is considerably more difficult to buy new platforms, they said.
Furthermore, the US government does not encourage foreign governments to submit letters of request for arms that the US has expressed a disinterest in selling, the source said.
When Chen spoke of how Chinese military aircraft have been skirting Taiwan’s airspace, Pottinger said the US “understands” Taiwan’s position, but did not elaborate.
Taiwanese officials asked the US to begin cooperation of cyber security and requested assistance for an indigenous submarine program, the source said.
Admiral Harry Harris — commander of US Pacific Command — was not at the talks, but met the delegation separately at the Pacific Command headquarters, the source said.
This story has been corrected since it was first published.
VITAL INDUSTRY: A war in the Strait would be a catastrophe, as Taiwan ‘lies at the heart’ of the world’s semiconductor industry, the magazine’s report said The government yesterday welcomed international attention on Taiwan’s security, saying that China is to blame for threatening regional stability, after a report by The Economist called Taiwan “the most dangerous place on Earth.” The report is featured on the cover of the magazine’s latest issue, which depicts the nation as the epicenter of a US-China rivalry. The cover shows Taiwan in a radar display with dots crossing the Taiwan Strait accompanied by a Chinese flag and dots nearing the east coast with a US flag. The US maintains a “one China” policy, while maintaining relations with Taiwan, but such “strategic ambiguity is breaking
HIGH-RISK GROUP: After the latest outbreak, family members of workers exposed to infection would from tomorrow be eligible for government-funded vaccines The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four local COVID-19 cases: three family members of an infected worker at a quarantine hotel and a family member of an infected pilot. The new cases bring the number of infections involving China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) pilots and the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, where many of the airline’s crew members quarantined, to 24. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said three of them are the husband, son and daughter of case No. 1,129, a woman in her 60s, who works at the hotel. The son is in
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and