Source： Taiwan Today
Washington has reiterated its commitment to continue selling Taipei defensive weapons under the Taiwan Relations Act, according to the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aug. 22.
“The U.S. position on arm sales to Taiwan is clear and this stance was reaffirmed to mainland China in a recent meeting,” a MOFA official said.
The official was referring to an Aug. 20 meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his mainland Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan in Washington.
According to media reports, mainland Chinese defense official Guan Youfei, who accompanied Chang, said the issue of Washington selling Taipei weapons is likely to be included in the proposed U.S.-mainland China working groups addressing military issues of mutual concern.
But the MOFA official said the U.S. has dismissed such reports, adding that Chang’s call for Washington to halt weapon sales to Taipei is nothing new and consistent with the mainland Chinese position on the matter.
“Taiwan and the U.S. enjoy strong mutual trust with open communication channels,” the MOFA official said. “In accordance with past practice, Washington briefed us on the Chang-Hagel meeting and we kept close tabs on the event, as well as monitoring follow-up developments.
“The MOFA will continue urging the U.S. to sell Taiwan defensive weapons under the TRA so as to maintain cross-strait peace and stability. This is also in the interests of both sides as important security and economic partners.”
Washington’s stance on arms sales to Taipei was reaffirmed by U.S. President Barack Obama in his meeting with mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping in June. He said the U.S. will continue providing Taiwan with defensive weapons under the TRA.
Obama added that his administration strongly supports the improvement in cross-strait ties over the last few years and hopes the process will continue in a way acceptable to both sides.
Separately, the ROC Ministry of National Defense issued a news release the same day, rebutting reports of the U.S. changing its position on weapons sales to Taiwan.
Since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, bilateral relations have gone from strength to strength based on the government’s low-profile and surprise-free approach, according to the MND.
This healthy state of affairs is also illustrated by robust bilateral military exchanges, including Taiwan’s purchase of US$18.3 billion in arms from the U.S., the ministry added.
Legislated in 1979 following Washington’s decision to sever formal diplomatic ties with Taipei, the TRA serves as the foundation of the U.S. security commitment to Taiwan. (RC-JSM)
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