Trump administration crafting big new arms sales to Taiwan: sources

By David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick | WASHINGTON Fri Mar 17, 2017 | 3:58pm EDT

The Trump administration is crafting a big new arms package for Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles to defend against China, U.S. officials said, a deal sure to anger Beijing.

The package is expected to be significantly larger than one that was shelved at the end of the Obama administration, the officials told Reuters on the eve of a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“The political desire is there to do a substantial sale,” one administration official said, adding that internal deliberations had begun on a deal “that’s much stronger, much more significant than the one that was not accepted by the Obama people.”

President Donald Trump’s administration is eager to proceed with the sales, but it is expected to take months and possibly into next year for the White House to overcome obstacles, including concern that Beijing’s sensitivities over Taiwan could make it harder to secure cooperation on priorities such as reining in North Korea, the official said.

Completion of a package also could be held up by the slow pace at which the Trump administration is filling national security jobs, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because initial work toward new arms sales has not been made public.
Discussions between Taiwan and the new administration already have begun, according to a person in Taipei familiar with the matter.

The White House declined comment.

Details of the administration’s approach to Taiwan emerged as Tillerson was due to visit China this weekend, where he will seek more Chinese support on North Korea and firm up a first meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping expected next month.

In December, President Barack Obama’s administration put the brakes on a Taiwan deal under discussion. That package was worth $1 billion, Washington’s Free Beacon newspaper reported this week, citing unnamed officials, who also were quoted as saying the Trump administration was now preparing new sales.

Ned Price, a National Security Council spokesman under Obama, said the previous administration put a “relatively modest” arms package for Taiwan on hold, in part to let the new administration make the decision.

The Trump administration source told Reuters that the new deals under consideration would likely top the $1 billion mark.

The new administration plans to focus more than the previous one on enhancing Taiwan’s “asymmetric” capabilities, possibly with advanced multiple launch rocket systems, anti-ship missiles and other technologies that would enable Taiwan’s military to defend against a much larger Chinese force in the event of an attack, the U.S. official said.

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) is the top U.S. manufacturer of multiple launch rocket systems. Other foreign companies involved in the sector include Germany’s Diehl and Britain’s BAE Systems (BAES.L).

A $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan that Obama announced in December 2015, to China’s dismay, included two Navy frigates in addition to anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles.

The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China.” But successive administrations have continued providing billions of dollars in arms as part of a congressionally mandated requirement to ensure the island can defend itself.

Taiwan has already been a major point of contention between Trump and China, which considers the island a renegade province.

As president-elect, Trump broke with protocol and accepted a congratulatory phone call from the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in December, angering China. He then suggested he might abandon Washington’s “one China” policy, which accepts the self-ruled island as part of China. Once in office, Trump reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the decades-old policy.

The White House is mindful that tensions could flare again over new arms sales. But some Trump aides insist they are needed to make clear that the United States, Taiwan’s sole arms supplier, is committed to upgrading the island’s defenses.

(Additional reporting by J.R. Wu in Taipei and John Walcott in Washington; Editing by John Walcott and Tom Brown)

Source: Reuters “Trump administration crafting big new arms sales to Taiwan: sources”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


7 Comments on “Trump administration crafting big new arms sales to Taiwan: sources”

  1. Simon says:

    America is considering imposing sanction on Chinese banks and companies that they alleges broke UN sanction against N Korea. Likewise China should also impose sanction on American banks and companies that produces and facilitate arms sales to Taiwan in breach of the One China Policy.


  2. Mad Max says:

    Yes, the Chinese and other orientals like the Koreans and Japanese are for milking; To support the Westerners’ high standard of living. Bl**dy stupid Tsai and the Taiwanese.

    If I were Beijing, this would be crossing the red line and would be just cause to finish the civil war. The Amerikans words are NO good.

    War it is now. Taiwan will NOT and should NOT be Washington’s colonial vassal like South Korea, Japan and South Vietnam.

    To arms, Beijing!


  3. Simon says:

    China should sell weapons to Cuba and Venezuala to defdn against American attack.


  4. Simon says:

    Any weapons sold to Taiwan, if they are any good, gets passed onto China. That is why American have not sold any F-35 yet in case the Chnese laugh at it.


  5. Steve says:

    What will China do.? Clearly, Taiwan is a renegade province wishing to confront the Motherland with the help of the hegemonic and genocidal scoundrels. The US is the master of chaos and anarchy. Will Americans care if a million Taiwanese slaughtered in a cross strait war.? Will the US come to Taiwan’s aid in a military unification between China and Taiwanese renegades.? Taiwanese hawks are already planning urban warfare should China unify Taiwan militarily knowing that it is impossible to defend against the superior PLA. The US enjoys pushing the boundaries of war. The US supporting the One China Policy is a joke. There seems to be loopholes and the US would rather see a separation across the Taiwan strait.


  6. johnleecan says:

    This just shows that America recognized only the One China Policy in words and not in deeds. Shameless Americans!

    One other thing is that Trump keeps on saying other countries always take advantage of USA and it’s gonna stop. Who can believe such statement? America has been bullying, murdering, destroying other countries in the name of Fake freedom, Fake democracy, Fake human rights, Fake WMD for decades. Their hypocrisy and double standards are beyond belief. Yet many people believe them. Their propaganda really works!


  7. johnleecan says:

    That would earn Trump administration billions of dollars and drain Taiwan reserves tens of billions of dollars. And Taiwan most probably will get old military technology weapons and equipments but America will doctor the reviews to show Taiwan is getting updated technology.

    The reason why Taiwan won’t get new military technology is because America knows Taiwan is no match for China and one day, China will eventually be able to reunite it with Taiwan and America fear their stolen technology will be discovered by China.