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U.S. concerned about Taiwan's military strategy on Taiping: lawmaker

2012/05/02 20:26:04

Taipei, May 2 (CNA) The United States has expressed "mild concern" over a proposal for Taiwan to deploy missiles on Taiping Island, a legislator said Wednesday.

"The U.S., however, did not give (me) any pressure," Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang said in a telephone interview.

Lin said officials from the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) officials had paid him a call to discuss his proposal to increase Taiwan's military presence on Taiping, the largest of the Spratly Islands.

In a hearing in the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Lin had proposed that the defense ministry deploy stinger missiles on Taiping.

But he said Wednesday that "in the meeting (with the AIT), we didn't talk about any particular missiles."

He was responding to a news report earlier in the day that for anti-terrorism reasons, the U.S. is opposed to Taiwan installing missiles on the island.

Asked if the AIT was opposing or interfering with Taiwan's military strategy, he said "the U.S. was just expressing mild concern."

Meanwhile, AIT spokesman Christopher Kavanagh told CNA that the U.S. does not take a position on the competing sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.

"We support a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants to resolve their disputes without coercion," he said. "We call on all claimants to conform all of their claims -- both land and maritime -- to international law, including as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention."

The AIT represents the U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of formal ties.

(By Nancy Liu)