TAIWAN SHOULD KEEP SILENT ON ARMS FROM US: ROC DEFENSE MINISTER
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TAIWAN SHOULD KEEP SILENT ON ARMS FROM US: ROC DEFENSE MINISTER

Taipei, April 5 (CNA) Taiwan should keep mum about US arms sales to Taiwan in order to ensure the maximum benefit for the country, according to National Defense Minister Tang Fei.

Remaining silent is the best policy for Taiwan with regard to US arms sales to the island, because by so doing, Taiwan honors its promise to the United States and avoids infuriating Beijing, Tang has reiterated.

Since many different factors can affect the United States' decision to sell weapons to Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) has always adopted a low profile, and has traditionally declined to comment publicly on such issues, in order not to complicate the situation for the US side, according to MND officials.

The remarks came on the heels of recent media reports about the US sale of four Aegis destroyers to Taiwan. In addition to these vessels, Taiwan also hopes to purchase early warning radar systems, conventional submarines and updated Patriot missiles from America.

Although earlier reports said the United States has agreed to provide Taiwan with the state-of-the-art Aegis warships, the latest news in Taiwan on Wednesday was that the United States has made a decision not to sell Taiwan any of the vessels this year.

The conflicting reports were released through various different channels, and sources familiar with the MND's military procurement operations said the motives behind the release of the information were unclear.

A local analyst also pointed out that in addition to strong pressure from Beijing, the US administration also has to face internal pressure from the US Congress on arms sales to Taiwan. The issue is expected to be a topic of hot debate between the Republican and Democratic parties prior to America's presidential election later this year, he added. (By Flor Wang)