President Ma reiterates principles for US arms purchases
The Taiwan government's request for U.S. arms is based on
the principles that they will be used for defense, cannot be
produced in Taiwan and will replace aging equipment,
President Ma Ying-jeou said Aug. 17.
Ma made the comments while receiving the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, led by its Vice Chairman Daniel M. Slane, at the Presidential Office in Taipei.
"Taiwan has repeatedly expressed its desire to purchase F-16C/D jet fighters from the U.S., following mainland China's military buildup, which has led to a military imbalance across the Taiwan Strait," Ma said.
He added that ahead of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to mainland China, "our American friends told us that the U.S. commitment to Taiwan will not change, especially with regard to arms sales to Taiwan."
Ma stressed that the U.S. said it would not hold prior consultations with mainland China on arms sales to Taiwan, one of the "six assurances" made by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1982 that Washington said would remain in effect.
According to Ma, the U.S. is Taiwan's most important partner in the economic, education and national defense sectors. "The Taiwan Relations Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1979 ensures the safety of Taiwan and allows the two sides to conduct exchanges under secure conditions."
The president also hopes that the U.S. will include Taiwan in its visa-waiver program. He said "Over 410,000 Taiwanese visit the U.S. every year. It is the last important country yet to grant Taiwan the visa-waiver privilege."
Ma pointed out that a total of 117 countries or regions around the world have extended visa-free entry or landing visas to Taiwan citizens.