Over 100 lawmakers in US back arms sales to Taiwan
The China Post news staffA senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the U.S. government to sell advanced arms to Taiwan, including more sophisticated military hardware equipment like F-16 C/D fighter jets, as more than 100 American lawmakers have sponsored a proposal for the transactions.
May 25, 2011, 11:49 pm TWN
Vice Foreign Minister Shen Lyushun told legislators in Taipei that the U.S. lawmakers backing the arms sale to help beef up Taiwan's defense capability included 37 senators and 70 members in the House of Representatives.
He made the remarks after being questioned about the objection to the arms deals raised by Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of Chinese People's Liberation Army, during his recent visit to Washington.
Shen said the proposed arms deals reflected the public opinions in both Taiwan and the U.S.
However, he said some lawmakers from agricultural U.S. states declined to join their colleagues to back the arms sales to Taiwan over their discontent about Taiwan's restrictions on imports of American beef products.
Shen urged U.S. lawmakers to pay attention to the fact that Taiwan imports around US$4 billion of U.S. farm products each year in the active two-way trade between Taiwan and the U.S. while beef trade accounts for only a small portion amounting to US$150 million.
The American lawmakers from farm states should cherish the overall vibrant agricultural trade between the two sides rather than focusing just on beef trade.
Taiwan's government has reopened imports of U.S. beef products under strong protests from Taiwan consumers but still maintains restrictions on certain products as people on the island voiced grave concern over the safety of the products.
Despite mounting pressures from the American lawmakers against the wish of Taiwan consumers, the government of President Ma Ying-jeou is unlikely to further relax the imports in the new future for fear of losing people's support in the forthcoming legislative and presidential elections.