April 18, 2000 - 2:00 p.m. EDT
Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon
we talk about Taiwan a little bit? Were there any recommendations
that the Pentagon made that didn't get accepted by the White
BACON: Well, on the Taiwan issue, basically, the Pentagon
recommended a package, which I'm not going to be able to
describe in great detail from the podium. And the package
was adopted by the president's national security team and
by the president himself, and has been presented to Taiwan.
And it was, I think, a very good process that involved a
number of governmental agencies. There was a good discussion.
the important thing to stress here is that it is part of
a process, that over the years the United States has authorized
fairly extensive arms sales to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations
Act, which commits us to meeting Taiwan's defensive needs,
helping Taiwan meet its defensive needs.
we have sold approximately $18 billion worth of arms to
Taiwan over an extended period of time. These include F-15s
(sic) [F-16s] and some frigates, Knox Class frigates, some
air defense missiles, radars, tanks to defend against amphibious
invasion, and other types of equipment, including Patriot
missiles. So this was another part of that ongoing process
to help Taiwan meet its defensive needs.
PAC 3 part of the package?
BACON: I don't think I'll get into what was in the package
and what was not in the package. If something wasn't in
it this year, it could well be in it in some future year.
the next step now in this whole process?
BACON: Well, the next step is the way we handle arms sales
to Taiwan traditionally -- at
appropriate time, Taiwan will agree to specific packages
that will include numbers, price, delivery schedules, training
and support packages. And at that time, the Pentagon will
make proposals for arms sales to Congress.
the way the system works, we propose an arms sale. If Congress
doesn't object, after 30 days, we can go ahead with the
transaction. If Congress does object for some reason, it
obviously has the right to hold hearings to explore the
reasons for the sale, the dynamics of the sale, et cetera.
I don't anticipate that there will be problems with these,
when they are formally proposed, but it may take some time
for the details to be worked out and the formal proposals
to go to Congress.
can you also tell us about meetings that Pentagon officials
have had with the Chinese CNO over the last couple of days?
Has this whole issue come up? Have you discussed it with
BACON: Well, we do not consult with the People's Republic
of China about our
to help Taiwan meet its defensive needs.
the Chinese have strong views about our relationship with
Taiwan. So do we, and our relationship with Taiwan is well-specified
in law and we have explained that law to the people from
the Mainland many, many times, and I think they understand
what the law requires us to do.
also made it very clear to them, and Secretary Cohen has
done this on several occasions, we've made it very clear
to the PRC that because we, under the law, help Taiwan respond
to defensive needs, the greater the threat posed by China,
the greater Taiwan's defensive needs will be. And we have
called on both sides to show restraint -- particularly on
the Chinese -- to show restraint in their arms developments
and deployments and use of arms.
I just ask one last question? Could you assess -- do you
still see China increasing or
or expanding its missile positions along the coastline of
China facing Taiwan?
you quantify some of this for us?
BACON: Well, Admiral Blair quantified it here in a briefing.
He said they're adding about 50 surface-to-surface missiles
a year, and nothing has changed that pace as far as I know,
from Admiral Blair's briefing. It was about two months ago.
though you won't outline what's in this package of arms,
can you say whether or not some of the weapons are designed
to counter that specific threat? Are there systems or weapons
that would be defensive in nature that would help against
a threat from missiles?
BACON: Well, as I pointed out, we in the past have sold
Taiwan versions of the Patriot
and it's no secret that last year we made a decision to
help Taiwan upgrade its early warning radars, and that process
will continue. Obviously, early warning radars can be used
to alert populations and militaries to airplane attacks
as well as missile attacks, and we are in the process of
working closely with Taiwan to help it upgrade its early
warning radar operations.
there anything in the package that represents a new capability
for Taiwan, or is this adding to stuff they already have?
BACON: No, there are several weapons that were approved
for the first time, some that we've denied in the past and
approved this time around.
it's a recognition that the threat seems to have increased,
and therefore their defensive capabilities can reasonably
be expected to increase as well.