Alexa

Ma asks U.S. to speed up arms approval processes

Ma asks U.S. to speed up arms approval processes

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) called on the United States government yesterday to speed up the process of approving an arms deal with Taiwan by notifying the U.S. Congress of the sale.
He made the statement during a visit by one of the top China experts in Congress, Carolyn Bartholomew, the vice chairwoman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission.
The notification of the US$11 billion arms package to Congress is a necessary step in the process to move the sale forward. Taiwan is buying seven weapons systems, including Patriot PAC-3 missiles, diesel-fueled submarines and anti-submarine helicopters.
The arms deal was first frozen for years at the Legislative Yuan, when Ma's Kuomintang and its allies blocked it because they found its price too steep.
Over the past few months, there have been reports that the Bush administration had frozen the deal until after the Olympics, or even until a new administration takes office in Washington next January.
Ma promised his visitor yesterday that his government would keep Taiwan's defense budget above 3 percent of gross domestic product, showing the island's determination to defend itself.