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U.S. still assessing sale of F-16 fighters, submarines to Taiwan

U.S. still assessing sale of F-16 fighters, submarines to Taiwan

Taipei, Jan. 31 (CNA) The government is still negotiating with the United States over the sale of advanced F-16 C/D fighter planes and diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan, Premier Wu Den-yih said Sunday after the two items were left out of an arms package intended for Taiwan.
Washington is still evaluating the sale of the two weapons systems coveted by Taipei, Wu said, a day after the U.S. government did not include them in the US$6.4 billion arms package it approved for sale to Taiwan on Friday.
The package consists of two Osprey Class mine hunting vessels, 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 114 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile systems, 12 ATM-84L and RTM-84L Harpoon Block II Telemetry missiles and a range of telecommunications equipment.
On whether the price tag of the U.S. package was higher than expected, Wu said the government will calculate the price of each item based on the price list provided by the U.S. and make a purchasing decision only after careful evaluation.
"We have to figure out whether there is a price difference, " Wu added.
Buying weapons at a reasonable price for the country's self-defense is the government's basic guideline, Wu said, noting that the government will handle the deal based on this principle.
The purchase of F-16C/D jets and submarines is still under discussion, and Washington is evaluating the sale, but negotiations on the submarines will be difficult because of their very high price, Wu said.
The premier refused to characterize the announcement of the arms sales as part of an effort to mend fences following a dispute between the two countries over Taiwan's restriction of some U.S. beef imports.
Taiwan and the U.S. have long maintained a strong friendship and share common values and interests, Wu said, and the beef dispute was simply trade friction that would not impact arms sales, relations and the friendship between the two sides.
He stressed that Taiwan's government will work to mend the friction between the two countries with sincerity and concrete action.
Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yu Sy-tue said Tuesday that Taiwan will seek to buy modern weapons, equipment and other supplies for self-defense through various channels.
Yu said he believes the U.S. will evaluate the balance of military power between China and Taiwan, and he hoped that Washington would continue to provide the island with defensive weapons according to the Taiwan Relations Act.
On whether the price tag of the U.S. package is too high, the spokesman said the ministry has not yet received relevant documents from Washington and once they are received, the ministry would carefully assess whether the budget request is fair.
Yu also said the government will do its utmost to negotiate with the U.S. to protect the country's interests.
(By Lee Shu-hua and Y.L. Kao)




Updated : 2021-03-03 10:42 GMT+08:00