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Author Topic: U.S. Freezes $12B in Arms Sales to Taiwan  (Read 3109 times)

Offline tigershark

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U.S. Freezes $12B in Arms Sales to Taiwan
« on: June 11, 2008, 03:26:41 AM »
U.S. Freezes $12B in Arms Sales to Taiwan

BY wendell minnick
Published: 9 Jun 16:02 EDT (12:02 GMT
TAIPEI - As China and Taiwan prepare for their first official talks in more than a decade, sources in both Taipei and Washington say the U.S. State Department has decided to freeze all congressional notifications for $12 billion worth of arms sales to Taiwan.

Sources are mixed on whether the freeze will extend through the remainder of the Bush administration or only until after the August Beijing Olympics. Fears in Taipei are the freeze could become permanent with a new U.S. president in January.
The freeze is part of an effort not to derail Beijing-Taipei negotiations, scheduled to begin June 11, or disturb plans by U.S. President George W. Bush to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

The freeze covers about $12 billion worth of weapon sales now being processed under the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and items still awaiting approval, including 30 Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, 60 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, eight diesel electric submarines, four Raytheon Patriot PAC-3 air defense missile batteries and 66 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters. The freeze does not include 12 Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, which have already been approved.

Sources are saying the State Department, along with heavy lobbying by officials assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, has been pushing hard to freeze arms sales to Taiwan to placate China. The freeze comes at a bad time for the U.S. defense industry, with expected cuts in defense spending and recent problems in the U.S. economy.

Beijing also has been successful at curtailing U.S. defense company activities in Taiwan. Boeing closed its Taipei office two years ago after threats that Beijing would curtail future sales of commercial aircraft.

In the first quarter of this year, the Taiwan electorate gave the Kuomintang (KMT) a sweeping majority in the legislature and elected its first KMT president, Ma Ying-jeou, in eight years. The election demonstrated public dissatisfaction with the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The return of the KMT gave Beijing the green light to go forward with formal talks on establishing direct flights, economic accords and a potential peace accord.

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