Gov’t should ensure US arm sales continue: DPP

By Katherine Wei, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Rumors about China asking the United States to cease arms sales to Taiwan have prompted the main opposition party to say that the government should confirm that the U.S. will not bend to Beijing’s desires concerning Taiwan’s defense needs. According to several Chinese and Hong Kong media outlets, one of the three main obstacles the U.S. has created in China-U.S. relations is its provision of defensive weapons for Taiwan.

Chinese Minister of Defense Chan Wanquan (常萬全) was reported to have plainly said that China would consider modifying its deployment of troops in return for the U.S. ceasing arms sales to Taiwan. Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) suggested the same thing to his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, during their summit this June, but only received the latter’s reaffirmation that the U.S. “understood” its obligation in providing defensive arms to Taiwan. The Ma administration should use the diplomatic channels currently in use to ask the U.S. to clarify the news reports, as well as promise that it will not be heeding China’s suggestions, said Joseph Wu, the Democratic Progressive Party’s representative to the U.S. According to Guan Youfei (關友飛), deputy director of the external affairs office of China’s defense ministry, Chan also suggested both nations establish a group dedicated to discussing arms sales to Taiwan, and that U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had given positive feedback in light of the suggestion. “China proposed the suggestion more than once, even offering to remove the missiles aimed at Taiwan in exchange. But the surprising thing is that both nations have taken the arms sales discussion to the next level,” said Wu. If the nations do in fact form a discussion group, all future group conferences will inevitably include the issue of the arms sales; making the meetings a routine matter on a sensitive subject between both sides, Wu predicted. “We hope that the U.S. will not break its promise to Taiwan, and that it will not communicate or discuss the issue of arms sales to Taiwan in the future,” said Wu, who was referring to the Taiwan Relations Act.