Taiwan welcomes reported shift in U.S. arms sales policy

2018/06/05 21:01:15 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Image taken from Pixabay

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) A reported shift in U.S. government policy to process arms sales to Taiwan on a case-by-case basis would likely make it easier to predict the timing of arms procurements, better meet defense needs and make defense budget planning easier, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Tuesday.

The MND was responding to a Reuters report citing an anonymous U.S. official that Washington aims to change the way it deals with arms procurement requests from Taiwan, processing them on a case-by-case basis instead of bundling them together as is currently the practice.

The ministry's comment echoed that of Rupert Hammond-Chambers at the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council trade association who was quoted in the Reuters report as saying that moving away from bundling -- a practice in place for the past decade -- would better meet Taipei's defense needs and involve treating the country more like a regular security partner.

The ministry said it hopes any change in the U.S. approach to confirming arms sales to Taiwan will make it easier to predict the timing of arms deals and better earmark military expenditure when making annual arms sales requests.

A former Republic of China (Taiwan) Navy officer familiar with U.S. arms sales to Taiwan also said case-by-case sales would be good for Taiwan, a major buyer of U.S. arms, as it could reduce the length of the approval process, accelerating the speed with which Taiwan receives the weapons systems needed to strengthen its national defense.

He noted that bundling together multiple arms sales to Taiwan inevitably lengthens the approval process, thereby delaying delivery, budget planning for arms procurement and even military plans for national security.

Meanwhile, the MND had no comment on the part of the Reuters report that cited U.S. officials as saying the United States is considering sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait, noting only that the report had not been verified.

(By Matt Yu and Evelyn Kao)

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