US could sell arms to the ROC by end of ’15: ex­pert

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The United States might sell arms to Tai­wan at the end of this year, said Mark Stokes, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Washington-based think tank Pro­ject 2049 In­sti­tute.

Stokes made the re­marks af­ter at­tend­ing a seminar that was cen­tered on how Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s re­cent visit to the United States would af­fect Tai­wan, an event which was or­ga­nized by the Washington-based think tank, the Hud­son In­sti­tute.

With pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in both the U.S. and Tai­wan loom­ing, Stokes said it would be bet­ter for Amer­ica to sell arms to Tai­wan sooner rather than later. He pre­dicted that it could be pos­si­ble that U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama will no­tify Congress of plans for a new arms sale pack­age to Tai­wan be­tween now and the end of this year.

Ear­lier this month, Ru­pert Ham­mond-Cham­bers, pres­i­dent of the U. S.- Tai­wan Busi­ness Coun­cil, said that it was un­likely that Obama will an­nounce a new arms sale pack­age to Tai­wan be­fore the fourth quar­ter of next year. The new pack­age, how­ever, will con­sist of lit­tle more than sec­ond-hand equip­ment, up­graded equip­ment and mu­ni­tions.

Asked what the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment thought about Tai­wan’s in­dige­nous sub­ma­rine pro­ject, Stokes said the pro­ject will cre­ate more job op­por­tu­ni­ties for Tai­wanese cit­i­zens while Amer­ica can pro­vide sup­port to the pro­gram.

Mean­while, Ian Eas­ton, re­search fel­low at the Pro­ject 2049 In­sti­tute, said that it is vi­tal for Tai­wan to have self- de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties when it comes to Amer­ica’s in­ter­est in the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion. Other than the help pro­vided by the United States, no other coun­tries are will­ing to of­fer mil­i­tary aid to Tai­wan, added Eas­ton.

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