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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

More arms procurements from U.S. in pipeline for 2021: MND

ROC Central News Agency

12/07/2020 05:13 PM

Taipei, Dec. 7 (CNA) Taiwan has two defense procurement deals with the United States in the pipeline for 2021, worth approximately US$8 billion, Vice Defense Minister Chang Che-ping (張哲平) said Monday during a legislative hearing.

Chang did not reveal the items involved in the possible deals, but media reports have speculated that they could be the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer and smart mines.

He was responding to legislators' questions regarding a speech by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen on Nov. 28 at a forum in which he said that the U.S. has verified in Congress US$5.2 billion in arms sales to Taiwan for 2021.

In his speech, Christensen also said there were US$11.8 billion in arms sales between the U.S. and Taiwan in 2020, which the MND said should have been only US$5.5 billion.

When pressed by legislators on the seeming anomalies in the deals, Chang reiterated that the discrepancies in the amounts were due to different accounting periods on the two sides.

The U.S. federal government runs on an Oct. 1-Sept. 30 fiscal year, while Taiwan's runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

According to the AIT, the amount Christensen mentioned during the forum was for Fiscal Year 2020, which includes an F-16 retrofit and other large items announced in late 2019.

Asked by legislators whether the change in the U.S. administration will affect its arms deals with Taiwan, Chang said he is sure that the U.S. will proceed with the deals.

During the same hearing, Taiwan's Air Force Chief of Staff Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) confirmed that Taiwan will purchase additional Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air defense missiles from the U.S.

He was responding to legislators' questions regarding media reports that said the Air Force is planning to purchase an additional 300 PAC-3 missiles to raise its stocks to around 650 by 2027.

Huang did not provide further details, saying only that the Air Force will not request extra budget for that purpose.

(By Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)

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