Monday, 3 April 2017

U.S. mulls F-35s for Taiwan deal

Image result for U.S. mulls F-35s for Taiwan deal

WASHINGTON/ TAIPEI — The United States is considering a new package of arms sales to Taiwan, sources said.
Multiple sources close to the bilateral matter revealed that the United States would sell the weapons to Taiwan as early as this summer.
Among the weapons are cutting-edge fighter jets, which past U.S. administrations did not allow to be sold to Taiwan. The arms package could be worth the highest amount ever.
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida on Thursday and Friday, seeking to build upon their bilateral relationship. During telephone talks with Xi in February, Trump showed a flexible stance on the “one China” policy, over which Beijing had been nervous, agreeing to maintain the status quo.
Regarding Taiwan, meanwhile, with which past U.S. administrations have kept good terms, Trump seems to be keeping the balance by strengthening the commitment in defense through weapons sales.
According to the sources, the White House will start full-scale deliberations on supplying Taiwan with the weapons package after the upcoming Trump-Xi meeting. Working-level discussions between Washington and Taipei likely have already kicked off behind the scenes, the sources said.
According to a former senior official at the U.S. State Department who is well-informed of the deliberation process, cutting-edge F-35 stealth fighter jets and the most advanced missile defense system are under consideration. As F-35 fighter jets are expensive and have advanced strike capabilities, the United States is also considering the possibility of selling upgraded F-16 fighter aircraft.
Even after severing its diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, past U.S. administrations have sold weapons for defense purposes to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, a U.S. law that stipulates maintaining commercial and cultural ties with Taiwan. The administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama decided to sell weapons three times between 2010 and 2015, worth $14 billion in total. However, taking China into account, the administration did not include the cutting-edge fighter jets, submarines and Aegis destroyers that Taiwan sought in the arms packages.
During the Trump-Xi meeting this week, the “one China” policy also will likely be one of the topics for discussion, according to sources.Speech