US REPORTEDLY TO SELL ANTI-SUB PLANES, MISSILES TO TAIWAN
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US REPORTEDLY TO SELL ANTI-SUB PLANES, MISSILES TO TAIWAN

Washington, Feb. 1 (CNA) The United States is likely to sell anti-submarine P-3 airplanes and anti-tanker missiles to Taiwan, according to the latest issue of the US Defense News magazine.

However, the United States will likely turn down Taiwan's request for several other items at a meeting between military officers of the two sides to be held in April, the report said.

The weekly magazine said that Taiwan's request to acquire four AEGIS radar systems has caused a fierce debate within the Clinton Administration.

Defense News quoted both government and national defense industrial source as saying that the Pentagon agrees with the sales and the National Security Council and State Department officials object to the proposal.

An industrial source said that Taiwan hoped to acquire the AEGIS system and US-made destroyers. Taiwan may just acquire the AEGIS system and use another type of warship to carry the system, the source said.

The magazine further said that Taiwan's military acquisitions will also include a diesel-engine submarine, AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missiles, and AGM-65G air-to-surface missiles.

The US government turned down Taiwan's request last year, it reported.

It pointed out that facing the escalating military threat from Beijing, Taiwan began to acquire the weapons for defensive purposes. Taiwan has not only worked to acquire new weaponry systems but has also reactivated its program for domestic missile development.

The magazine quoted foreign wire services dispatching from Taipei as reporting that Republic of China Vice President Lien Chan, who is also the presidential candidate for the ruling Kuomintang, said on Dec. 9 that Taiwan should develop long-range missiles so as to deter the military threat from mainland China.

Lien's statement indicated that Taiwan doubted whether the US would sell sufficient defensive weapons to Taiwan, it said.

Beijing recently acquired some long-range missiles and airplanes frustrating Taiwan very much, it said.

A former US military attache at the US Embassy in Beijing said recently that SU-27 jet fighters and R-77 air-to-air missiles acquired by Beijing will enable Beijing's air force to destroy Taiwan's air force planes taking off from air bases.

Beijing will also double its naval-strike capability once it acquires a new electronic war operation base, a US official said. (By Jay Chen & Edward Chen)