TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Tuesday (June 25) that the policy of selling arms to Taiwan was long-term and consistent, rejecting claims by TIME Magazine that United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was blocking a US$2.6 billion arms deal with Taiwan until after the weekend G20 summit.
President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) will meet in Osaka June 28-29, where the trade disputes between the two countries are likely to feature high on the agenda. The weapons deal with Taiwan could be held back in order to raise the chances of a trade deal with China, reports said.
AIT acting spokesman Aaron Huang emphasized Tuesday that U.S. policy had not changed, the Liberty Times reported. He said the arms deals were based on the Taiwan Relations Act and on the island’s defense needs.
The sales had been a consistent policy over several administrations, beneficial to Taiwan and to cross-strait peace and stability, Huang said.
The Ministry of National Defense said the arms procurement from the U.S. was proceeding according to plan, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated Taiwan would continue its drive to maintain its autonomous defense capability and to procure the necessary defensive weapons, the Liberty Times reported.
The current deal allegedly held back by Mnuchin includes 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks and hundreds of missiles.