The president yesterday criticized Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
"Chairman Ma agreed to support reasonable arms procurements and to boost the nation's defense in our April 3 talks, but the KMT has continued to block the arms bill in the legislature," President Chen Shui-bian (
"I believe the delay in procuring advanced weapons for the military is very unfair to [the public]," Chen added.
He said "the opposition parties are reckless in treating national security as child's play."
Chen said that at a critical time in the transformation of the military, the opposition parties had rejected passing an arms procurement bill for the purchase of three PAC-3 anti-missile batteries, eight diesel-powered submarines and 12 P-3C Orion submarine-hunting aircraft from the US.
Chen called for the opposition to respect reason and professionalism in the arms issue.
Chen made the remarks while presiding at a commissioning ceremony for two E-2K Hawkeye aircraft at an air force base in Pingtung yesterday morning.
"With the two new aircraft, the country will maintain its advantage in air defense. The air force will be able to respond to emergencies earlier since it will receive warnings earlier," Chen said.
He said that the E-2K is one of the most advanced warning aircraft in the world.
The air force yesterday said it currently has a force of four E-2T Hawkeye aircraft, and that it would be able to patrol the airspace over the Taiwan Strait 24 hours per day after the two new aircraft join the force.
The new aircraft, accompanied by fighter jets, passed over the ceremony, and an air show during the event drew cheers from the assembled crowd.
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