Taiwan parliamentarians head to US to push arms deals
A Taiwan parliamentary delegation flew to the United States on Sunday to urge Washington to speed up arms sales to Taiwan, the dpa reported.
The delegation will call on Pentagon officials and members of the Senate and Congress to urge the Bush administration to speed up arms sales to Taipei.
Lawmaker Lin Yu-fang said the parliament has passed the budget for arms purchase from the US, but the US has been delaying the sales. There were even rumours that Taiwan is no longer eager to buy modern arms from the US as Taipei-Beijing ties have improved since Ma Ying-jeou became president on May 20.
"So we will tell the US that the stand of Taiwan and President Ma (on arms purchase) has not changed. Like Ma said, we will continue to buy arms from the US as long as the purchase is reasonable," he said.
Lawmaker Shuai Hua-min said the delegation will be trying to sound out US government's stance towards selling arms to Taiwan.
Taiwan's eight arms purchase deals are awaiting approval by the US State Department, but it is unclear if the US can authorize the deals during President George W Bush's term which ends in January 2009.
The eight deals cover the purchase of Apache military helicopters, anti-tank missiles, upgrades of the PAC anti-missile system, F-16 components, P- 3C anti-submarine aircraft, harpoon missiles plus a feasibility study on the US building eight conventional submarines for Taiwan.