posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 09:35 AM
Finally... an article I can access on the web! (Before anyone flames me, no, I can't paste a link to the article because I got it from Westlaw. I
reproduce it here under 17 U.S.C.A. 1 s.107 ).
Copyright 2004 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Taiwan spends $25bn on US arms
* Beijing TAIWAN is preparing for the biggest weapons purchase in its history in a move that will fuel the arms race in the Taiwan Strait and spark
new tensions with China.
Washington has indicated it will sell Taiwan the advanced Aegis weapons system, a ship-based missile shield that would integrate Taiwan's defences
with those of the US and Japan.
A delegation of Taiwanese politicians is in the US to negotiate a huge arms deal worth $US18 billion ($25.8 billion) which includes buying eight
submarines, a fleet of anti-submarine aircraft and a modified version of the Patriot anti-missile system.
The delegation visited a US missile base in Texas after talks at the Pentagon on Thursday. The visit comes after Taipei announced a special $US18
billion budget to upgrade the island's weapons arsenal.
Admiral Thomas Boulton Fargo, who heads the US Pacific Command, surprised the Taiwanese with the suggestion of arming the island with the Aegis
system, delegation members revealed.
"This is the first time we heard they are evaluating the sale of Aegis-equipped destroyers to Taiwan," said Chin Hui-chu, a member of the
The Aegis is designed to detect and attack dozens of missiles, aircraft and ships simultaneously. Taipei has wanted the system for years, but
Washington has always denied the request because of strong protests from Beijing.
The Aegis system is mounted on a fleet of modern destroyers. If acquired by Taiwan, it would vastly diminish China's chances of overrunning the
Analysts see strong political overtones in the timing of the deal now being negotiated.
Selling Taipei expensive weapons will benefit the US military industry and cheer the pro-Taiwan lobby in the Republican party.
In his first year in office, President George W. Bush promised to defend Taiwan against any attack from the mainland, but his administration has since
been much friendlier towards Beijing.
At a similar stage in his re-election battle, Mr Bush's father, the 41st US president, also negotiated a huge arms deal with Taiwan to shore up his
electoral base. In 1992, he agreed to the largest arms sale to Taipei at the time -- a $US6 billion package to sell 150 F16 fighter jets.
The deal instantly saved 5800 jobs in Fort Worth, Texas, but it buried any chance of closer co-operation between Washington, Taipei and Beijing on
resolving the dangerous standoff in the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan's Minister of National Defence, Lee Jye, has confirmed his desire to obtain the Aegis technology. "Acquiring this system is a top goal
regarding our mission to contribute to maintaining regional peace," he said.
But the move is expected to spark protests, and more than 1000 demonstrators took to the streets of Taipei last weekend to demand the Government scrap
its $US18 billion arms-buying budget.