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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan welcomes latest U.S. arms sales package

ROC Central News Agency

2015/12/17 12:13:26

Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) Taiwan has welcomed the latest arms sales package announced by the United States, with both the Presidential Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) saying that it highlights the fact that U.S.-Taiwan relations have never been better.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) applauded and expressed appreciation for continued U.S. commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act and its Six Assurances regarding arms sales to Taiwan, as indicated by sales of defensive weapons to the country, Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) said late Wednesday.

The latest arms sales package is the fourth to be approved since Ma took office in May 2008 and the third under the Obama administration, said Chen, adding that the total value of those packages -- more than US$20.13 billion -- is the highest in any period during the last two decades.

Chen said that the amount translates into an annual average of US$2.51 billion during Ma's tenure so far, exceeding the US$1.05 billion per annum during the term of Ma's direct predecessor, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), and also the annual average of US$1.35 billion under former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

By promoting the development of bilateral relations based on the principles of honesty, a low-profile and zero surprises, the Ma administration has helped bring Taiwan's relations with the United States to their best state since bilateral diplomatic ties were severed 36 years ago, Chen said.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, (MOFA) also extended a 'heartfelt welcome' to, and appreciation for, the U.S. administration's notification to Congress of its intention to provide Taiwan with an arms sales package worth US$1.83 billion.

The scale of the arms sales over the past seven years 'fully demonstrates the fact that the United States honors by concrete actions its commitment to our security under the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances' given to Taiwan by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1982, MOFA said.

'It also highlights the fact that U.S.-Taiwan relations are indeed at their best ever,' it said.

Instead of obstructing the development of Taiwan's relations with China, the latest arms sales will 'help maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and increase our confidence as we engage in dialogue and improve relations across the Taiwan Strait, MOFA said in the statement.

In addition, the arms sales package underscores the common interest that the United States and Taiwan share in the region and Taiwan's strategic position as an important economic and security partner of the United States in the Asia-Pacific, it added.

The Republic of China government will continue to strengthen Taiwan's relations with the United States and work toward promoting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the region, MOFA said.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen, Tang Pei-chun and Jay Chen)
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