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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

DPP expresses concern about omissions in U.S. arms sales package

ROC Central News Agency

08/10/04 16:54:57

By Steve Bercic

Taipei, Oct. 4 (CNA) The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus expressed concern Saturday about the scale of the smaller-than-expected arms sales package approved by the U.S. administration.

A day earlier, the U.S. State Department notified Congress of its decision to approve a US$6.46 billion arms package that includes Apache attack helicopters, Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries, Javelin anti-tank missiles, sea-launched Harpoon missiles, as well as the upgrade of E-2T Aircraft, and blank order requisitions for spare parts in support of F-5E/F, C-130H, F-16A/B and Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) aircraft and related support equipment.

In response to the news, DPP caucus whip Lai Ching-te noted that the approved arms procurement package only includes five of the weapons items requested by Taiwan.

The approved package does not include the diesel-electric submarines and Black Hawk helicopters that Taiwan is seeking.

According to Lai, rather than hailing the approval of the package as a sign of improved U.S.-Taiwan ties, the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou should be wary of the fact that the package is smaller than expected and be vigilant against the possibility that it is a sign of change in relations between the two countries.

He also said that the U.S. administration's delaying of approval of the arms sale package for so long and only notifying Congress of its decision to give the green light after the regular legislative session had already ended should be viewed as warning signs.

The opposition lawmaker called on Ma's administration not to interpret the approved arms sales package as "a new beginning, but instead as a new variable" in U.S.-Taiwan ties.

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