Taiwan to continue to buy, develop arms: Ma
AFPTAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan will keep buying arms abroad as it cannot rely solely on improving ties with China to ensure its security, President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday.
October 11, 2010, 10:28 am TWN
“Of course, for Taiwan's security we cannot place our hopes only on improved relations with China,” Ma said in a National Day address in downtown Taipei.
“Therefore, it is our necessary and unalterable policy to develop an independent defensive capability and to continue to buy from abroad defensive weapons that we cannot produce ourselves.”
Ma was elected in 2008 on a promise to improve Taiwan's economy, mainly by stepping up exchanges with China.
During his time in power, ties between Taiwan and China have warmed rapidly and are now at their friendliest since 1949, when the two sides split at the end of a civil war.
“We will continue to expand economic, cultural and social exchanges and build up mutual trust,” Ma said.
The United States in January approved a US$6.4-billion package including helicopters, anti-missile defenses and China — which has vowed to reunify with self-governing Taiwan, by force if necessary — reacted furiously to the arms deal and is only now resuming suspended military exchanges with the United States.
Late last month, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted in Taipei-based media as suggesting that mainland missiles pointing at Taiwan could one day be removed. Ma again welcomed this in Sunday's speech.
“The mainland authorities recently made a statement on withdrawing the missiles. We think that's positive for ties between Taiwan and China, and we hope it will be realized at an early date,” Ma said.
Taiwanese experts estimate that the Chinese military has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island.