Taiwan's MND calls reports of US arms sales 'mere speculation'

Ministry of National Defense states all arms sales confidential until White House notifies congress

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Taiwanese F-16 mid-flight. 

Taiwanese F-16 mid-flight.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) issued a press release Wednesday evening (Sept. 16) saying reports the United States plans to sell seven weapon systems to Taiwan is purely conjecture.

A Reuters article stated that people familiar with the matter said Washington is planning to sell seven major weapon systems to Taiwan, including mines, cruise missiles, and drones. This would have been a drastic departure from previous U.S. administrations, which have always grouped arms sales to Taiwan in one big package.

The defense ministry said the news was "mere speculation" and stressed that military purchases are strictly confidential. Only when the U.S. officially notifies congress will information be released to the public.

The process of U.S.-Taiwan arms sales begins with Taipei sending a letter listing desired items to Washington. The U.S. then reviews and adjusts the list according to which weapons are available for sale, cost considerations are made and the document is sent back to Taiwan.

After Taiwan finalizes a compiled list of weapons, it submits an official letter of request then waits for the U.S. to conduct an inter-ministerial review of the letter. Finally it will notify congress of the sale.