Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Arms Procurements

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

"America, Please Sign Again a Joint Defense Treaty
[with Taiwan] If [You] See Taiwan as a `Partner'"

Chen Charng-ven, a professor of law in Taipei, said in
an op-ed in the conservative, pro-unification "United
Daily News" (10/7):

". The writer can fully understand [Deputy
Undersecretary of Defense Richard] Lawless' position in
maintaining the United States' and Taiwan's interests.
But his speech deserves more thorough consideration
when it is the taxpayers of Taiwan who have to pay the
bills from the arms deals.

"First, [is it true that] if the special arms budget
fails to pass, it will signify that Taiwan pays no
attention to its national security? The NT$610 billion
arms deal does not necessarily equal national security.
[Taiwan's] national security hinges on its goodwill
gestures to maintain peace, its orderly administration
of domestic affairs, its people's self-confidence and
also the development of mainland China; it does not
necessarily rely on its arms procurements. . The best
example is the former Soviet Union, which collapsed
partly because of its excessive dedication to military
buildups without recognizing its limits. Also, the
weapons that Taiwan plans to buy from the United States
do not certainly guarantee [complete satisfaction of]
Taiwan's `national security' needs.

"Second, [is it true that] the United States and `other
countries' will doubt Taiwan's commitment toward its
own national defense should the budget fail to pass?
The writer is very curious: what other countries, in
addition to the United States, are concerned about
Taiwan's security? In fact, Lawless' statement just
underscored one thing, namely, Taiwan and the United
States no longer shares a joint defense treaty, and the
United States has no obligations under international
law to defend Taiwan. If Lawless can truly represent
Washington by saying that `the U.S. government will
stand firmly as the backing for Taiwan's self-defense'
and if Washington is really interested in being
Taiwan's partner, [we hope that] Washington could re-
sign a joint defense treaty with Taiwan and guarantee
the security of Taiwan as a `partner.' If the United
States is willing to do so, it may be worthwhile for
the taxpayers in Taiwan to pay NT$610 billion or even
more money for our security. ."


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