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Taiwan to seek U.S. arms sales: president

ROC Central News Agency

2010/01/26 20:23:31

San Francisco, Jan. 25 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday that Taiwan will continue seeking U.S. arms sales to beef up its defenses.

Ma, who arrived in San Francisco that day for an overnight layover en route to a diplomatic visit to Central America and the Caribbean, made the remarks during a closed-door meeting with U.S. Congressman David Wu (D-Ore.).

As for whether Taiwan will be able to secure the sale of F-16 C/D fighter jets, Ma told Wu that the sale will depend on the attitude of the U.S.

He said his administration will continue trying its best to secure arms supplies from the United States.

Ma's remarks came amid reports that the F-16 C/Ds are not likely to be included in an arms package that the administration of U.S.

President Barack Obama will approve for sale to Taiwan.

An Associated Press report said a day earlier that the Obama administration had notified Congress that it has decided to sell weapons to Taiwan.

According to the report, the move is expected to worsen already tense ties between China and the United States. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and tends to vehemently oppose any arms sales to Taiwan, while the U.S. government is bound by the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure the nation's defenses.

The AP report said the arms package is likely to include UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles and material related to Taiwan's defense communications network.

The sale has been widely expected as it is part of an US$11 billion arms package originally pledged to Taiwan by former U.S.

President George W. Bush in 2001. The package has been provided in stages because of political and budgetary considerations in Taiwan and the U.S.

The report quoted U.S. congressional aides with direct knowledge of meetings between Obama administration officials and Congress members on relevant issues as having said that the package is not likely to include the F-16s.

The exclusion of the planes would help the U.S. dodge a thorny issue, according to the report.

The congressional aides also said it is unclear when an official announcement will come but that it could be soon, according to the AP report.

(By Garfie Li and Sofia Wu) ENDITEM/J

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