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U.S. arms sales to Taiwan based on shared understanding: officials

ROC Central News Agency

2013/10/02 17:38:26

Annapolis, Maryland, Oct. 1 (CNA) Taiwan will formally submit letters of request to buy more arms from the United States as long as the two sides reach an understanding on the matter, a Taiwanese official said Tuesday.

The official from Taiwan's representative office in the United States was responding to remarks by U.S.-Taiwan Business Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers on the issue.

During the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference held in Annapolis, Maryland, Hammond-Chambers expressed concern over what he said is a "new policy" of the administration of President Barack Obama, under which Taiwan has been told not to submit letters of request for major arms sales packages.

The official, however, said that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are always based on mutual consensus.

He pointed out that there was a time when Taiwan and the United States would meet every year to discuss Taiwan's defense needs, and Taiwan would submit a letter of request for arms sales according to whatever agreement was reached during the meeting.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, however, allowed Taiwan to submit its requests whenever necessary without a meeting, he noted.

As long as the U.S. government is willing to sell weapons to Taiwan, it will do so even if Taiwan does not submit letters of request, according to the official.

While attending the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference earlier in the week, Taiwan's Deputy Defense Minister Yen De-fa said Taiwan needs planes more advanced than its existing fleet of F-16 A/Bs, which are currently being upgraded with the help of the U.S.

Taiwan has also asked to purchase submarines from the U.S., Yen said.

(By Lin Shu-yuan and Y.F. Low)

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