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Arms sales to Taiwan irrelevant to politics, elections: Tsai

ROC Central News Agency

2015/12/17 12:07:26

Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party and the party's presidential candidate, said Thursday that the United States has said repeatedly that arms sales to Taiwan are based on the country's defensive needs and are not related to politics or elections.

Tsai, considered a shoo-in for the Jan. 16 presidential election, said she believes that the United States, after careful assessment of Taiwan's defense posture, decided on the sales based on its defensive needs.

According to Tsai, these are objective factors and few political considerations have gone into the decision.

'During our exchanges with the United States, we have been informed repeatedly that arms sales are based on Taiwan's own defensive meeds, which are irrelevant to politics, elections or political parties,' Tsai said when asked whether the arms sales will impact the presidential election just a month away.

Meanwhile, DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said in a news release that the party thanks and supports a U.S. announcement of new arms sales to Taiwan.

The Obama administration notified Congress of a proposal to sell Taiwan two warships and other weaponry worth US$1.831 billion late Wednesday Taipei time.

The deal includes two Perry-class frigates, AAV7 amphibious assault vehicles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other equipment.

Wu said the United States is a major security partner and that the arms sales highlight the fact that the United States, in a substantive move, is delivering its promise under the Taiwan Relations Act and its Six Assurances to Taiwan.

The arms sales will contribute to Taiwan's national security as well as peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, Wu said.

He said that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have never obstructed the development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations, adding that only if Taiwan has adequate defensive capability can it ensure cross-strait peace and stability and engage with China with confidence.

Wu said the DPP attaches great importance to national defense. If it wins the presidential election, it will increase budgets related to national defense and increase investment in Taiwan's indigenous national defense industry to achieve a higher level of self-sufficiency in national defense, he said.

The DPP also hopes the United States will continue to provide Taiwan with necessary weaponry and technological assistance according to its defense needs, Wu added.

(By Sophia Yeh and Lilian Wu)

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