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Taiwan still hoping for delivery of Perry-class frigates: MND

Taiwan still hoping for delivery of Perry-class frigates: MND

Taipei, Oct. 14 (CNA) Taiwan is still hoping to take delivery of two U.S. Perry-class frigates next year, said Defense Minister Kao kuang-chi (???) on Wednesday, amid reports that the sale is in limbo and the ships already decommissioned. Kao said at a legislative hearing that the ministry is hoping to get a letter of offer and acceptance for the frigates by the end of the year and send Navy officers to take delivery of the Perry-class frigates next year. He added that the military has already inspected the frigates, and they are in fairly good condition, but Kao acknowledged that there have been delays, which he attributed to difficulties in coordination between the executive and legislative branches in the United States. U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill into law in December 2014 that authorized the sale of four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan.
Taiwan budgeted about NT$5.5 billion (US$174.8 million) in 2014 to purchase two of the frigates that were still active. Taiwan was expecting to take delivery of the ships this year to replace the Navy's two aging Knox-class frigates.
The hope was for a "hot" transfer, where Taiwan would take possession of the ships essentially intact. But according to a report in the United Daily News, the Obama administration has delayed sending final notification of the sale to the U.S. Congress, making it impossible for the two sides to sign a contract to finalize the sale. In the meantime, the report said, the active frigates have been decommissioned and mothballed despite appeals from Taiwan, meaning that Taiwan's plan to have the two ships sail back to Taiwan in 2016 and 2017 and commissioned in 2017 and 2018, respectively, will have to be postponed. Based on the military's understanding, the notification has been held back because of more pressing matters, Kao said at the hearing, but he suggested that the problem has been removed, without elaborating. He said the Navy has its officers ready and will take delivery of the frigates once the sale goes through. China has vociferously opposed the sales of the frigates, as it does all U.S. sales of weapons systems to Taiwan, but it is unclear if the Obama administration's delay has been because of pressure from Beijing. (By Lu Hsin-hui and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-21 17:26 GMT+08:00