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Policy on arms sales to Taiwan remains unchanged: U.S. admiral

Central News Agency

2009/09/16 21:36:52

By Gorge Liu and Y.L. Kao

Washington, Sept. 16 (CNA) The U.S. policy on arms sales to Taiwan will remain unchanged as it is consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act which enshrines the U.S.' commitment to ensuring Taiwan's defensive capability, Admiral Timothy Keating, commander of the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command, said Wednesday.

Keating made the remarks in response to a question on whether he thinks China will curtail U.S.-China military exchanges if the U.S. announces weapons sales to Taiwan.

China has always been opposed to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Keating said, citing as an example China's reaction last October when the U.S. announced that it would sell Taiwan more than NT$6 billion worth of military hardware.

At the time, China suspended military exchanges with the U.S. and it was not until earlier this year that the exchanges resumed, he added.

Keating said he therefore believes it is likely that China will take the same action if the U.S. government again announces arms sales to Taiwan.

However, he expressed the hope that China will not react that way, as the United States has continued the sale of appropriate defensive military equipment to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act since it was enacted in 1979.

Noting that the supply of weapons to Taiwan is not a new U.S. policy, Keating said he hopes China will view the matter from a more long term and broader perspective.

Keating also praised President Ma Ying-jeou's China policy, saying it is wise to promote friendlier relations with China because this will be beneficial to both sides.

He noted that since Ma took office, Taiwan has reached several agreements with China, and said he believes this has contributed greatly to stability in the Taiwan Strait.

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