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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


ROC Central News Agency

2005-08-23 23:37:12

    Taipei, Aug. 23 (CNA) The U.S. will not let newly inaugurated opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou hedge on the issue of the government's controversial arms purchase from America, Hsiao Bi-khim a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , speculated Tuesday.

    Hsiao made her prediction after Ma spurned President Chen Shui-bian's request Tuesday for a meeting on the NT$480 billion (US$14.92 billion) budget for the arms purchase, which has been bogged down in the opposition-controlled legislature for more than a year. Ma responded by saying it is up to the legislature to deal with the bill.

    Hsiao said Ma might turn a deaf ear to the president's request but she claimed he will not be able to escape pressure from the U.S. which knows quite well that it is the opposition parties, not least the KMT, that is stonewalling the deal.

    Noting that a group of U.S. congressmen wrote to Ma's predecessor Lien Chan, urging him to give a greenlight to the budget for the purchase, Hsiao predicted that the U.S. would not let Ma dodge the issue, and that officials from the American Institute in Taiwan will ask for a meeting with the new KMT chief soon seeking answers to this question.

    As the proposed arms acquirement concerns national security, Hsiao said, Ma has to face up to it and think about how to deal with it rather than pass the buck.

    The KMT, under the leadership of Lien, has filibustered the budget on the grounds that it would be financed with a special budget, which the opposition claims will become a heavy financial burden for future administrations.

(By Maubo Chang)



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