U.S. to normalize arms sales partnership with Taiwan: official

2019/06/27 14:41 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Randall Schriver, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs (CNA file photo)

Washington, June 26 (CNA) The United States is committed to a normalized process that will make Taiwan a "normal" foreign military sales (FMS) partner, but there is no specific timing for any announcement, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

"We're going to treat Taiwan as a normal security systems partner," Randall Schriver, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said during a discussion held by the Heritage Foundation on the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, when he was asked to comment on reports that a proposed US$2 billion arms sales package to Taiwan has been put on hold for fear of angering Beijing ahead of a planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

Schriver said the United States is working very closely with Taiwan as a security partner under the Taiwan Relations Act and is making sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself, particularly at a time when Taiwan is facing more military pressure from China.

Based on the law, Washington will make defense systems available to Taiwan based on the threat assessment, he said.

"I don't have any specific timing of announcements or releases. We have talked about a more normal process making Taiwan a normal FMS partner for military sales orders and we're committed to that," he said.

Due to Taiwan's own security challenges, the country should invest more in its own defense to deter China from resorting to military means to solve the dispute over Taiwan's status, Schriver suggested.

Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand and Mongolia are what Schriver described as "natural partners" of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, according to the "Indo-Pacific Strategy Report: Preparedness, Partnerships and Promoting a Networked Region" released by the U.S. Department of Defense June 1.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Chi Jo-yao)Enditem/J


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