US Senate chairman seeks more arms for Taiwan

(From Washington Free Beacon)

By Bill Gertz

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has called on President Obama to increase arms sales to Taiwan even if it disrupts ties with Beijing.

Republic of China troops

Republic of China troops

“While recent relations between Taiwan and China have been more encouraging, we remain concerned that China’s ongoing military modernization, and the threat it poses to peace and security in the Taiwan Strait, is not being adequately addressed,” Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the chairman, stated in a letter co-signed by Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Despite an estimated $12 billion in announced arms sales to Taiwan, the two senators said “we are troubled that it has now been over four years—the longest period since the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979—since the administration has notified Congress of a new arms sale package.”

They urged the president to approve new weapons, including sales of new and more capable F-16 jet fighters that the administration in the past has opposed supplying to Taiwan’s aging air force.

The senators said U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are “a vital component” of stability in the volatile Taiwan Strait, where China has deployed up to 1,700 missiles targeting the island.

A White House spokesman had no immediate comment.

The annual report by the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission made public last week said Taiwan’s military power is weakening as China’s is growing.

“Over the past decade, the balance of power across the Taiwan Strait has shifted significantly in China’s favor; China now enjoys both a quantitative and a qualitative advantage over Taiwan and is capable of conducting a range of military campaigns against Taiwan,” the report said. Read more

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