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U.S. lawmaker to continue urging F-16C/D sale to Taiwan

U.S. lawmaker to continue urging F-16C/D sale to Taiwan

Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) A U.S. lawmaker has said he will continue to help Taiwan acquire F-16C/D jet fighters and submarines from the United States to strengthen its self-defense ability. Speaking during an interview with CNA Sunday in Taipei, one day before wrapping a week-long visit to Taiwan, U.S. Representative Austin Scott (R-GA), who is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he will try to "keep it at the forefront of the discussion" to help Taiwan acquire the weapons systems it needs to defend itself. The first U.S. lawmaker to visit Taiwan this year, Scott said he "would love" to see Taiwan obtain the F-16C/Ds and submarines it has asked for. Scott said he will also help get more members of Congress to visit Taiwan to see the country firsthand "with their eyes, that makes a difference." Asked whether the congressmen are likely to come here later this year, Scott said it would "difficult" due to the U.S. elections in November 2012, adding that next year will be a better time. During his visit, Scott visited various military sites on the Taiwan-controlled outlying island of Kinmen and in the southern city of Kaohsiung to gain deeper understanding of the country's defense forces and learn more about its military requirements. He described Taiwan as a "very good partner in trade and in helping ensure peace and stability" in the Asia-Pacific region, although he did not respond directly to whether a recent U.S. announcement that it will expand its military presence in the region means further military cooperation with Taiwan. Taiwan plays a vital role of stability in this region, he said. "The stronger ties we can have with Taiwan, the better it is for security purposes." On the U.S. beef dispute between Taipei and Washington, Scott expressed confidence that the two sides will resolve their differences on the issue. The controversy over U.S. exports to Taiwan of beef containing residue of a locally banned leanness promoting drug has derailed bilateral talks under the Trade and Invest Framework Agreement, which have been suspended since 2007. "We will work on that issue and find a resolution" to allow U.S. beef to enter Taiwan and assure the people of Taiwan that the beef is "safe to eat," Scott said. He also reiterated the need for strengthening bilateral trade relations. "We don't need to let one issue get in the way of all of the other common ground we have," he said. On the issue of Taiwan-China ties, the lawmaker praised the expanding economic exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, which help avoid potential conflict. "I believe the trade relationship between Taiwan and China is good for the people of Taiwan and also helps with the security issue as much as anything," Scott said. (By Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-04-14 01:20 GMT+08:00