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U.S. does not consult with China on arms sales to Taiwan: Campbell

ROC Central News Agency

2011/10/05 22:20:02

Washington, Oct. 4 (CNA) The United States has never consulted with China on arms sales to Taiwan, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs said Tuesday.

Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kurt M. Campbell said that as part of its commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the U.S. has continued to provide Taiwan with defensive military systems based on the island's needs.

The U.S. makes "decisions about arms sales without advance consultation with the PRC" in line with its longstanding policy dating back to the earliest days of the TRA, he said. The TRA is a U.S. law that regulates engagements with Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Campbell also denied that the current U.S. administration's efforts to build a "positive, cooperative and comprehensive" relationship with China have hurt its relations with Taiwan.

"Positive and constructive relations with China are not only consistent with our robust and diverse relationship with Taiwan, they are also mutually supporting," Campbell said.

In fact, he said, "since the beginning of this administration, we have not only improved relations with both China and Taiwan, but this approach has also contributed to historic levels of cross-Strait stability."

On arms sales to Taiwan, Campbell said the U.S. administration has recently demonstrated its resolve to fully live up to its commitment by finalizing a new package of US$5.85 billion in jet upgrades, equipment and training for Taiwan.

"This is matched by the US$6.4 billion in sales to Taiwan in 2010 that bring us to a total of over US$12 billion in sales in a two-year period -- more than any comparable two-year period since the passage of the TRA," he added.

Speaking on the same occasion, Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary of defense for the Asia-Pacific, told U.S. lawmakers the Obama administration remains committed to Taiwan's defense, and the upgrades will make Taiwan's existing fleet of F-16 A/B jet fighters comparable to the more advanced F-16 C/Ds it also wanted. The upgrades offer the "the best bang for the buck at this time," he said.

Lavoy also revealed that the Obama administration is consulting with Taiwan on a full range of capabilities so the island can undertake defense preparations, including modernization of its arsenal and development of asymmetrical defense strategies. (By Chou Yung-chieh, Tony Liao and Sofia Wu) enditem /pc



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