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Gates says U.S. arms sales to Taiwan to go on

Defense secretary says weapons will help nation defend itself from Chinese threat

Gates says U.S. arms sales to Taiwan to go on

The United States will continue its arms sales to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act to help Taiwan defend itself against China's military threat, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Friday.
Speaking during a news conference in response to a question about the recent developments in U.S.-China relations, Gates said that Chinese officials again raised the issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan during his recent visit to China.
"I was very explicit that our arms sales were consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act and the joint statement and that as long as they continued to build up their forces on their side of the Taiwan Strait, we would continue to give Taiwan the resources necessary to defend itself," Gates said.
On Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum alongside the March 22, 2008 presidential election on the country's bid to apply to join the United Nations under the name Taiwan, Gates said he is not worried that there will be a military reaction from China, adding that the United States is watching the situation very closely.
Gates further said that also during his recent China visit, he told Chinese officials that this matter should continue to be handled in a political way.
Noting that Washington has made its opposition to the referendum plan very clear to Taiwan, Gates said he believes Beijing knows that "we have weighted in heavily on this matter with the Taiwanese."
Meanwhile, in a separate news conference held on the same day, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repeated Washington's objections to the planned referendum, which she called a "provocative policy."
"It unnecessarily raises tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and it promises no real benefits for the people of Taiwan on the international stage. That is why we oppose this referendum, " Rice said.
She reiterated that the United States opposes any threat to use force and any unilateral moves by either Taiwan or China to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, adding that Washington follows a "one China" policy and does not support independence for Taiwan.
Rice's statement follows similar remarks made over the past few months by several other lower-level U.S. officials.


Updated : 2021-05-13 10:10 GMT+08:00