U.S. might sell arms to Taiwan at the end of 2015: scholars - Focus Taiwan

U.S. might sell arms to Taiwan at the end of 2015: scholars

Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) The United States might sell arms to Taiwan at the end of this year, said Mark Stokes, executive director of the Washington-based think tank Project 2049 Institute.

Stokes made the remarks after attending a seminar that was centered on how Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent visit to the United States would affect Taiwan, an event which was organized by the Washington-based think tank, the Hudson Institute.

With presidential elections in both the U.S. and Taiwan looming, Stokes said it would be better for America to sell arms to Taiwan sooner rather than later. He predicted that it could be possible that U.S. President Barack Obama will notify Congress of plans for a new arms sale package to Taiwan between now and the end of this year.

Earlier this month, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, said that it was unlikely that Obama will announce a new arms sale package to Taiwan before the fourth quarter of next year. The new package, however, will consist of little more than second-hand equipment, upgraded equipment and munitions.

Asked what the American government thought about Taiwan's indigenous submarine project, Stokes said the project will create more job opportunities for Taiwanese citizens while America can provide support to the program.

Meanwhile, Ian Easton, research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, said that it is vital for Taiwan to have self-defense capabilities when it comes to America's interest in the Asia-Pacific region. Other than the help provided by the United States, no other countries are willing to offer military aid to Taiwan, added Easton.

(By Rita Cheng and Lee Mei-yu) ENDITEM/ke

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