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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Arms sale approval marks rebuilding of Taiwan-U.S. ties: speaker

ROC Central News Agency

08/10/04 16:54:57

By Steve Bercic

Taipei, Oct. 4 (CNA) Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said Saturday that the U.S. administration's approval of the sale of six major weapons packages to Taiwan is a "sign of a rebuilding of relations" between the two countries.

Wang's remarks came one day after the U.S. State Department notified Congress of its approval of a US$6.46 billion arms sales package that includes Apache attack helicopters, Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries, Javelin anti-tank missiles and sea-launched Harpoon missiles, as well as an upgrade of the E-2T aircraft to the Hawkeye 2000 configuration and blank order requisitions for spare parts in support of F-5E/F, C-130H, F-16A/B and Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) aircraft, along with related support equipment.

Speaking with a CNA reporter in Taipei, Wang said failure to approve the arms package sale would have posed "a large problem."

According to Wang, not approving the package would lead others to interpret that "Taiwan-U.S. ties had regressed and that Washington no longer cared about Taiwan's security."

He added that as U.S. President George W. Bush had already given the green light and as Taiwan's legislature had approved the budget, failure to approve the sale would not have made sense.

Furthermore, Wang noted that under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States has an obligation to provide Taiwan with the weapons it needs to defend itself.

The legislative speaker said that following the State Department's approval of the sales, Taiwan-U.S. relations will only continue to improve, adding that a central focus of Taiwan's present government is to restore mutual trust between the two countries.

Wang further said that regardless of which U.S. presidential candidate wins the election next month, he is confident the new U.S. head of state will demonstrate strong concern for Taiwan's democratic development and national security.

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