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FROM: WASHINGTON POST 

September 29, 2000

Pentagon Approves Arms Sales to Taiwan

Associated Press  Friday , September 29, 2000 ; A06

The Pentagon said yesterday it plans a series of arms sales to Taiwan valued at $1.3 billion, including 200 supersonic air-to-air missiles and advanced military communications systems.

China, which regards Taiwan as part of the motherland, strongly opposes U.S. arms sales to the island. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States is committed to providing Taiwan with defensive arms.

Like most nations, the United States has diplomatic relations with China and has promised Beijing that it will not have formal ties with Taiwan, which split with the mainland after the communist revolution in 1949.

The Pentagon said it plans to sell Taiwan 200 AIM-120C medium-range air-to-air missiles to enhance the defensive capabilities of Taiwan's F-16 fighters. Although Taiwan had previously asked to buy this type of missile, this is the first time the Pentagon has approved the sale. That portion of the deal is valued at $150 million.

Congress has the authority to block any Pentagon arms sale, although such action is rare.

In written statements announcing each part of yesterday's arms sale, the Pentagon said the additional weaponry in Taiwan would "not affect the basic military balance in the region." China argues that U.S. arms sales amount to interference in internal Chinese affairs and could embolden Taiwan to seek independence.

The Pentagon said it also would sell Taiwan a military communications system known as the Improved Mobile Subscriber Equipment system, for $513 million. The system will provide secure voice and data communications to all levels of Taiwan's field military forces.

 
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