Defense Ministry dismisses 'speculation' about new U.S. arms sales

09/16/2020 10:41 PM
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The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry launches a Tomahawk cruise missile. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Sunderman)
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry launches a Tomahawk cruise missile. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Sunderman)

Taipei, Sept. 16 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Wednesday that a foreign news report about the United States planning to sell seven major weapons systems to Taiwan was nothing more than "media speculation."

In a statement, the ministry said the Taiwan military handles arms purchase deals that are under evaluation or being negotiated, based on the principles of confidentially and discretion.

The military does not discuss such deals publicly, the MND said, in response to the Reuters report about a plan for the U.S. to supply Taiwan with seven major types of weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles and drones.

The ministry said it will report to the public whenever the U.S. State Department formally notifies Congress of any such deals.

Meanwhile, the news report about an imminent American arms sale to Taiwan is purely "media speculation," the MND said.

Citing three people on Capitol Hill familiar with the status of the reported deals, Reuters said the weapons packages are moving through the export process, and the U.S. Congress is expected to be notified within weeks.

The report further cited an industry source, saying that U.S. President Donald Trump was slated to be briefed about the packages this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pursuing seven arms sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which U.S. military sales to Taiwan were spaced out, according to the report.

(By Matt Yu and Y.F. Low)

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