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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


ROC Central News Agency

2005-03-09 22:44:45

    Taipei, March 9 (CNA) Should the special budget required for the purchase of U.S.-made advanced weapons be cut by the legislature, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) will give priority to the procurement of submarines, followed by anti-submarine aircraft and Patriot anti-missile batteries, Minister of National Defense Lee Jye said Wednesday.

    Fielding questions at a meeting of the National Defense Committee under the Legislative Yuan, Lee stressed that the priority for procurement of the proposed weapons will not be adjusted again.

    The Cabinet has listed a special budget of NT$610.8 billion (US$18.23 billion) for a proposed massive arms procurement package, under which the country plans to purchase eight diesel-electric submarines, six PAC III Patriot anti-missile batteries and a squadron of 12 P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft from the United States.

    During the meeting, Legislator Ku Chung-lien of the opposition People First Party said Therese Shaheen, former managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, has suggested that Taiwan shouldn't buy submarines, so he questioned whether the United States just intends to test Taiwan's loyalty and sincerity through the military procurement proposal.

    In response, the defense minister said U.S. officials have told him that the U.S. government will not change its policy of selling arms to Taiwan.

    The MND has delivered a new set of publicity material to the Legislative Yuan in a fresh attempt to lobby for lawmakers' support for the proposed arms procurement package. In the 13-page booklet, the ministry uses simple images to illustrate the connection between the arms procurement and national security.

    Legislator Lin Chin-hsing of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said at the meeting that the contents of the explanatory pamphlets are too simplistic for DPP lawmakers to defend the government's military procurement plan.

(By Luis Huang)


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