• Directory of Taiwan

U.S. does not confirm arms sale to Taiwan

U.S. does not confirm arms sale to Taiwan

Washington, Dec. 15 (CNA) The U.S. State Department refused to comment on a report saying that the United States will soon move ahead with a US$1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan.

"As a matter of policy, the Department of State does not comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress," said State Department spokesman David McKeeby in reply to a CNA question on the arm sales on Tuesday.

Citing two unnamed U.S. officials, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Obama administration was "preparing to move forward" with the arms package that consists of two previously approved Navy frigates, Marine Corps amphibious vehicles, Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

The sale of the frigates was approved in December 2014 when U.S. President Barack Obama signed legislation endorsing the transaction, but his administration has yet to notify Congress of the sale.

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who heads the Armed Services Committee, and Benjamin Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, urged Obama last month to offer another arms package to Taiwan, according to Bloomberg.

China spoke out against the possible arms sale on Tuesday.

"The Chinese side firmly opposes any arms sale from the U.S. to Taiwan," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei in a press briefing in Beijing. Such a sale would "interfere in China's domestic affairs and undermine the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and China-U.S. relations," he said.

Collin Koh Swee Lean, an associate research fellow at the St. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying he did not expect the sale to cause much friction in the U.S.-China relationship.

"The pair of frigates is not a major irritant" because they don't constitute a dramatic or radical leap in Taiwan's military capability, he told Bloomberg. (By Rita Cheng and Lillian Lin)

Updated : 2021-09-19 21:05 GMT+08:00