Wednesday, January 9, 2013

U.S. will sell advanced Patriot missiles to Taiwan in 2015

The United States will sell Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles to Taiwan in 2015 and this is Washington's firm promise, visiting U.S. Senator James Inhofe said Tuesday.

Prior to that sale, the U.S. will sell Taiwan 30 Apache attack helicopters this year and 60 Black Hawk transport helicopters in 2014, Inhofe said during a visit to President Ma Ying-jeou at the Presidential Office.

The co-chairman of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, a body consisting of senators friendly toward Taiwan, said the arms sales promises, as well as the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, are part of Washington's promise to Taiwan, although he added that Washington should do more to implement the act.

For his part, Ma recounted that former U.S. President George W. Bush approved the sale of a batch of arms to Taiwan five months after he took office in his first term, a decision that was maintained by President Barack Obama.

Ma said that during the first three years of his first term, Washington sold US$18 billion-worth of arms to Taiwan, which was the largest sale since 1979 and proof that the U.S. is honoring its promise to help Taiwan protect itself.

Noting that more than 47 senators and 181 representatives have written to Obama urging him to sell F-16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan in the last two years, Ma said Taiwan's security is a cause of great concern to its friends in the U.S. Congress.

Ma reiterated during his meeting with Inhofe the country's proposal to shelve its disputes with Japan over the Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea and explore resources around the islands jointly.

Inhofe arrived in Taipei earlier in the day at the head of a 19-member congressional delegation for a two-day visit.

During a dinner party hosted by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng later in the day, Inhofe was quoted by Legislator Lin Yu-fang as assuring Wang that he will convince a majority of U.S. senators to support Taiwan's request to buy the F-16 C/Ds.

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