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American business leader forecasts upcoming U.S. arms sale to Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

2018/10/29 16:39:14

Annapolis, Maryland, Oct. 28 (CNA) The head of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council has forecast that the United States will approve another round of arms sales to Taiwan by the end of the year, following a US$330 million deal in September.

"It's reasonable to argue that there will be another congressional notification before the end of this year," Rupert Hammond-Chambers said at a press conference before the opening of the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday.

He declined to speculate on what arms the U.S. will decide to sell to Taiwan, saying only that the value of the package will be significant.

On Sept. 24, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced a proposed arms sale to Taiwan that would include standard spare parts and other maintenance supplies for Taiwan's F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighter and other aircraft.

The sale would be the second of its kind to Taiwan since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, following a US$1.4 billion deal in June 2017.

At Sunday's press conference, Hammond-Chambers said he would like to see less influence by the U.S. State Department and China on U.S. arms sales proposals for Taiwan.

The U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference 2018, which will run through Tuesday, is the 17th annual event in a series of ongoing conferences that are addressing the future of U.S. defense cooperation with Taiwan, the defense procurement process, and Taiwan's defense and national security needs.

This year, the discussions will focus on Taiwan's role in the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, how Taiwan can increase regional engagement on defense and national security issues, and how Taiwan can continue to develop its capabilities in order to meet its existing and future defense needs, according to the council.

The Taiwan delegation to the conference is being led by Deputy Defense Minister Chang Guan-chung (張冠群), who had said recently in the Legislature that his delegation would try to apprise U.S. of Taiwan's defense needs during the three-day conference.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Elizabeth Hsu)

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