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Talk of the day -- News digest of local media -- Arms sales

Talk of the day -- News digest of local media -- Arms sales

Washington announced the sale of US$6.4 billion worth of defensive arms to Taiwan Saturday, marking the first such sale committed to by the Barack Obama administration.
The arms package, based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), will take effect if the U.S. Congress does not voice any objections within 30 days of the notification.
The package consists of 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, two Osprey Class mine hunting ships, 114 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles and 12 harpoon missiles and communication equipment, but it did not include the advanced F-16 C/D fighter planes and diesel-electric submarines long sought by Taiwan.
Beijing immediately voiced "strong concerns" over the sales plan and announced a deferral in China's military cooperation programs with the United States.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the issue: China Times: State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Saturday that China has always opposed U.S. military sales to Taiwan, but added that this latest sales package complies with the "one China" policy stipulated under the three communiques that Washington and Beijing have forged as well as the Taiwan Relations Act.
The approval of the sale was aimed at maintaining security and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Crowley said.
He added that Washington did not consult Beijing in advance but did inform Chinese and Taiwanese authorities respectively before notifying Congress about the plan.
Liberty Times: President Ma Ying-jeou announced the news to the media aboard his plane en route back to Taiwan from San Francisco after a whirlwind visit to Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
He said the arms sale is conducive to better cross-strait relations, explaining that the safer and more confident Taiwan feels, the more willing it will be to engage in closer interaction with China.
Alexander Chieh-cheng Huang, a professor in Tamkang University's Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, said the latest U.S. arms sales plan will help Taiwan meet its defensive needs but called the package's lack of an assessment on building diesel-electric submarines for Taiwan "regrettable." Noting that Taiwan's four submarines are all old, Huang said Taiwan's naval preparedness will suffer if no new submarines are ordered and built in time.
United Daily News: The arms sales package has no new significance since the Obama administration did not approve any weapons systems for Taiwan not already approved by the previous administration.
Taiwan should not be too optimistic about its relations with the U.S. because of the approved sale. Instead, it might be a warning that Washington has adopted a cross-strait policy of "distancing" itself from Taiwan and tilting toward China.
With this in mind, Taiwan's government should heighten the alert and chart a new strategy to regain the initiative with Washington on cross-strait issues.
(By Deborah Kuo)




Updated : 2021-06-15 14:39 GMT+08:00