LEGISLATIVE SPEAKER SUPPORTS RATIONAL DEBATE ON ARMS PACKAGE
ROC Central News Agency
Los Angeles, Aug. 7 (CNA) Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said in Los Angeles Sunday that he supports in-depth discussions on a long-stalled arms procurement package to address Taiwan's defense needs and China's mounting military threat.
Wang made the remarks while meeting with Taiwanese community leaders in Los Angeles.
Wang, a vice chairman of the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) , said the KMT's stance on the arms procurement package has been clear. "While we support Taiwan possessing sufficient self-defense capabilities, we oppose wasteful or unsuitable arms procurements, " Wang said.
Now that outgoing KMT Chairman Lien Chan has said the long-talked-about arms procurement package should be given reasonable support, Wang said chances for the two relevant bills to be put to legislative debate should be higher.
The two bills in question will pave the way for procuring eight diesel-electric submarines, six Patriot PAC III anti-missile batteries and a squadron of 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft from the United States. One bill will authorize the administration to prepare a special budget for the NT$480 billion arms procurement package over a period of 15 years, the other bill is regarding budget appropriations for the package.
The KMT and its "pan-blue alliance" ally -- the People First Party (PFP) -- have used their slim majority in the legislature to block the two bills from being put on the legislative agenda for two legislative sessions.
In his view, Wang said, the arms procurement package is very complicated and require a comprehensive evaluation. Against this backdrop, Wang said the package should be put forth for a legislative debate and in-depth discussions.
Wang, who suffered an embarrassing defeat in the KMT chairmanship election in mid-July, said he will continue his efforts to maintain KMT-PFP cooperation in the legislative process.
As the legislative speaker, Wang said, he will push for closer KMT-PFP cooperation and use their legislative clout to pass bills beneficial for national well-being.
Nearly 300 people, including senior executives of the KMT chapter in the U.S. West Coast, PFP volunteers in Los Angeles and representatives of major Taiwanese associations, attended the seminar.
Wang will wrap up his U.S. visit and leave Los Angeles for home Tuesday.
(By Sofia Wu)ednitem/mw
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