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Senior US official confirms arms sales to Taiwan will normalize

Randall Schriver says the U.S. seeks to normalize weapon deals with Taiwan as part of a wider U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy

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Project 2049 Institute Chairman Randall Schriver.

Project 2049 Institute Chairman Randall Schriver. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A senior U.S. Pentagon official said on Wednesday (June 26) that Washington is moving toward a normalized arms sales relationship with Taiwan, amid reports the Trump administration is holding back a weapons deal until after the G20 summit.

Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said he believes the U.S. government’s stance on normalized arms deals with Taiwan remains unchanged, reported Liberty Times. He declined, though, to provide further information on a proposed US$2 billion sale that is said to include M1A2 Abrams tanks.

The remarks were made at a meeting on U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy held by Washington-based think tank The Heritage Foundation. Refuting claims the deal is being blocked to improve prospects of a trade deal with China at the G20 summit, Schriver reaffirmed the U.S. government seeks to include Taiwan in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, which allows for facilitated U.S. defense equipment and services sales to foreign countries.

Speaking of the role of Taiwan in the U.S.' Indo-Pacific plans, the official reiterated its importance as a regional security partner and emphasized the contributions it can make to a free and open Indo-Pacific order, wrote Liberty Times. Boosting its defense capabilities will demonstrate Taiwan’s support for the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, Schriver argued.