Amid Apache case, AIT says United States mil­i­tary com­mit­ments un­changed

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The United States’ com­mit­ments un­der the Tai­wan Re­la­tions Act (TRA) re­main un­changed, the Amer­i­can In­sti­tute in Tai­wan (AIT) said Fri­day, amid fears that bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion would be af­fected by re­cent lax se­cu­rity in Tai­wan’s mil­i­tary.

In terms of co­op­er­a­tion, AIT spokesman Mark Zim­mer con­firmed that “our com­mit­ments un­der the Tai­wan Re­la­tions Act re­main un­changed.” The AIT rep­re­sents U.S. in­ter­ests in Tai­wan in the ab­sence of for­mal diplo­matic ties.

The TRA was en­acted on April 10, 1979 to main­tain com­mer­cial, cul­tural and other re­la­tions be­tween the U.S. and Tai­wan af­ter Wash­ing­ton switched diplo­matic recog­ni­tion from Taipei to Bei­jing. The TRA also re­quires the U.S. “to pro­vide Tai­wan with arms of a de­fen­sive char­ac­ter.”

Zim­mer con­firmed that re­la­tions be­tween Tai­wan and the U.S. have not changed as a re­sult of the re­cent con­tro­versy over mil­i­tary per­son­nel giv­ing civil­ians ac­cess to the AH-64E Apache attack he­li­copter.

One celebrity who toured the chop­per had her pic­ture taken in the he­li­copter’s cock­pit and posted it on­line, and an Apache pi­lot wore the he­li­copter’s flight hel­met to a pri­vate party, spark­ing charges of lax se­cu­rity and fears se­crets were leaked.

Zim­mer’s re­marks came one day af­ter Vice Chief of the Gen­eral Staff Adm. Pu Tze chun said that af­ter dis­cussing the sit­u­a­tion with AIT of­fi­cials, U.S. of­fi­cials said U.S. arms sales to Tai­wan would not be af­fected by the in­ci­dents.

Dur­ing a hear­ing of a leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee Thurs­day, Pu also said that the U.S. was not treat­ing the Apache hel­met as a clas­si­fied item and that there was no prob­lem with tak­ing a photo with the Apache as long as the chop­per was not ac­ti­vated.

The only thing that con­cerned the U.S., Pu said, was whether the in­ci­dents have af­fected the morale of Tai­wan’s mil­i­tary, given that some Tai­wanese of­fi­cers are still be­ing trained in the U.S. as part of U.S. arms sales pro­grams to Tai­wan.

Pu was re­spond­ing to ques­tions by law­mak­ers, who were con­cerned the re­la­tions be­tween Tai­wan and the U.S. would be af­fected by the re­cent scan­dals.

At the cen­ter of the scan­dals is Lt. Col. Lao Nai-cheng, the deputy head of a he­li­copter squadron in Taoyuan un­der the Army Avi­a­tion Spe­cial Forces Com­mand, who has since been re­moved from his post af­ter he was found to have given a group of civil­ians ac­cess to the Apaches in breach of reg­u­la­tions on vis­i­tors to mil­i­tary bases.

He also wore the Apache flight hel­met as part of a Hal­loween cos­tume at a party at his home, ac­cord­ing to a De­fense Min­istry in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Apaches were pur­chased from the U.S. in a deal for 30 of the chop­pers. The model E is the lat­est in the Apache attack he­li­copter se­ries and Tai­wan is among only a few coun­tries us­ing it so far.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.