US military support boosts Taiwan’s confidence: official


WASHINGTON, Military support provided by the United States helps boost Taiwan’s confidence in negotiating with China, which has continued its massive deployment of missiles targeting Taiwan despite the resumption of cross-Taiwan Strait dialogue, a Taiwanese official said yesterday.

Under these circumstances, although cross-strait economic ties have significantly improved over the past two years, military tensions between the two sides have remained unchanged, according to Chang Ta-tung, Taiwan’s deputy representative to the United States.

Chang was commenting on remarks made by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in a media roundtable in Beijing on Tuesday in which he was asked about Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan.

Gates reiterated that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan were governed by the Taiwan Relations Act and that there was no change in this policy.

But Gates also said that “over time if the environment changed and if the relationship between the China and Taiwan continued to improve and the security environment for Taiwan changed, then perhaps that would create the conditions for reexamining all of this.”

Chang said the situation presented by Gates remained hypothetical given that China has continued to target missiles at Taiwan and refused to renounce the use of force against Taiwan.

In response to an inquiry by Taiwan’s representative office in the United States, the U.S. Department of State said Washington has not reexamined arms sales to Taiwan because of improved cross-strait relations.