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U.S. commission expresses support for Taiwan's defense needs

ROC Central News Agency

2012/11/15 19:42:34

Washington, Nov. 14 (CNA) The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said Wednesday it supports Taiwan's defense needs in light of the widening military gap between Taiwan and China, but will not comment on whether the U.S. should sell F-16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan.

The commission said in its 2012 Annual Report to the U.S. Congress that the warming of relations between Taiwan and China in recent years has significantly reduced tensions across the Taiwan Strait and has led to the growth of economic, educational, and cultural exchanges between both sides.

The expansion of these links helps to reduce the chances of conflict across the Taiwan Strait, the report said, adding that the U.S. should continue to support engagement between the two sides.

The commission noted, however, that the underlying differences remain between both sides.

"The cross-Taiwan Strait military balance continues to shift decisively in favor of China, thereby posing a serious threat to Taiwan's security," the commission said.

Additionally, the deepening of cross-strait economic ties has not been matched by progress in security ties, and there are currently no significant official security dialogues between the two sides, the report noted.

Commission Chairman Dennis Shea said the U.S. must support Taiwan's democracy, as well as the national and military security of Taiwan.

But members of the commission hold different views regarding individual arms sale to Taiwan, Shea said.

Some members of the commission support selling F-16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan, while some do not, he said. But the commission has always strongly supported Taiwan's defense needs, he added.

"As a supporter of the expansion of democratic freedoms around the world, it is in the interest of the U.S. to see Taiwan's status resolved peacefully and without the coercion of its population," the report said.

(By Tony Liao and Ann Chen)

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