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Monday, December 21, 2009

Military optimistic on US arms sales to Taiwan

Washington is likely to agree to the sale of submarines to Taiwan as a gesture of good faith, according to a high-ranking ROC military official Dec. 10.

Existing Taiwanese Hai-Lung submarine.
Source: R.O.C. Ministry of National Defense Website

The comment was made in response to the latest Reuters report that the Barack Obama administration is moving toward possible new arms sales to Taiwan, including Black Hawk helicopters and design work on diesel-electric submarines. Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles and military equipment included in the Po Sheng command and control program are still under discussion, the report said.

Reuters cited Robert Kovac, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for defense trade, as saying that the White House was ready to notify the U.S. Congress of its decision.
“Taiwan and the U.S. are still negotiating the contents of the arms sales,” a high-level security official in Taiwan said, adding that “it is incorrect to say that the decision has been finalized.”

According to this official, the U.S. Department of State is still reviewing the submarine deal. Once it notifies Congress, it will mean the administration has approved the sale. However, as far as is known Congress has not been notified, because if it had been, the ROC military should have been informed, the official pointed out.

Neither the Bush nor the Obama administration has ever agreed to the sales of F16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan, though Taiwan budgeted funds for their purchase, the official noted.

In the military’s analysis, President Obama would first announce the sales of the less controversial 60 Black Hawk helicopters and perhaps even the diesel-electric submarines to show his goodwill toward Taipei. “The F16 C/D fighters will be put at the bottom of the list for future consideration,” the analysis indicated.

Commenting on this matter, Koumintang legislator Lin Yu-fang said he suggested the Defense Ministry include “domestic production” as a requirement when dealing with Washington.
“The purchase of these submarines has been put off in part due to pressure from mainland China,” Lin observed. “The U.S. military has also objected to restarting production of diesel-electric subs in the U.S., and some European countries, such as France, Spain and Germany, are unwilling to work with the U.S. to build submarines for Taiwan,” Lin added.

Under these circumstances, Lin said, the ROC Navy has adopted a two-stage submarine construction approach with regard to the purchase of American submarines. The first three-year stage involves asking the U.S. Navy to conduct a “feasibility assessment” for the design work and construction costs, with a maximum budget of NT$11.7 billion (US$362 million).

“The Legislative Yuan already passed budgets of NT$200 million in 2008 and NT$1.5 billion in 2009. But the U.S. has yet to provide Taiwan with a Letter of Offer and Acceptance, thus making it impossible to proceed as planned,” Lin added. (LC-THN). (@taiwantoday)

Sources and Methods Hai-lung Sub Link

dutch submarines export to Taiwan

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