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New U.N. treaty will not affect U.S. arms sales to Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

2013/04/03 21:19:53

Taipei, April 3 (CNA) The Arms Trade Treaty approved by the U.N. General Assembly will not affect U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, a Taiwanese official said Wednesday, one day after the passage of the treaty.

The treaty is to prohibit the sale of weapons to be used by groups that will commit actions in violation of human rights, such as terrorists, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao.

She added that the treaty is aimed at achieving global peace and stability. "This is also in line with our stance of promoting peace," she told CNA.

In an effort to maintain stability in the region, Taiwan has been seeking defensive weapons from the United States, while the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the six assurances serve as the basis for Washington's arms sales to Taipei, she said.

"We fully believe that the U.S. will continue to provide us with defensive weapons to help maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is also in the interests of all sides in the region," Kao said.

The U.S. is Taiwan's main arms supplier.

Echoing Kao's remarks, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said Taiwan's arms procurements for self-defense are designed to maintain regional stability, adding that the country is not among the targets the treaty aims to impose constraints on.

The treaty regulates conventional arms, such as battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons.

According to the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs, the treaty will not interfere with domestic arms commerce, will not ban the export of any type of weapon, will not harm states' legitimate right to self-defense, and will not undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.

It will not come into force until 90 days after it is ratified by at least 50 member states.

The TRA, enacted in 1979 after the U.S. severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China, obliges the U.S. to help Taiwan defend itself.

In 1982, then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan offered Taiwan six assurances, which included that the U.S. will not set a date for termination of arms sales to Taiwan; will not alter the terms of the TRA; and will not consult with China in advance before making decisions about U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

(By Elaine Hou)

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