Tags: Barack Obama | Obama | Taiwan | Arms

Obama Admin Blocked Arms Sale for Taiwan Defense

Image: Obama Admin Blocked Arms Sale for Taiwan Defense
A Taiwan Air Force U.S.-made F-16 fighter jet takes off from a highway designated as an emergency runway in the event of war. (Reuters) 

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 10:59 AM

President Barack Obama's administration blocked a sale of $1 billion in arms to Taiwan although the Pentagon and the State Department approved it, White House officials told The Washington Free Beacon.

The arms were needed to improve Taiwan's defenses against Chinese missiles and other advanced weapons that had been deployed across the Taiwan Strait, the Free Beacon reported.

President Donald Trump's administration is at work on another defensive arms sale for Taiwan, but the officials said they do not expect the package to be made public until after Trump's meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, which is set to happen in early April.

"The Trump administration takes America's commitment to Taiwan's security very seriously," a White House official said in the Beacon report.

The package would have included parts for the Taiwan military to modernize their F-16 jet fighters, as well as more missiles.

Former Obama administration spokesman Ned Price confirmed to the Beacon that the Obama White House stopped the package.

"In consultation with State and DoD, the Obama administration decided not to move forward with it in the final days of the administration," Price told the Beacon. "We thought it would be a useful package for the next administration to pursue in their time because it was well-calibrated to strike the balance we typically try to achieve, consistent with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act."

That act requires the U.S. to provide defensive weapons to Taiwan.

John Tkacik, former State Department official, criticized the blockage of the deal.

"It is truly alarming that the White House, in its last month, would ignore a defense transfer recommendation endorsed by both the State and Defense Departments, especially after the incoming president had already signaled his support of a strengthened security relationship with Taiwan," Tkacik told the Beacon.

Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at International Assessment and Strategy Center, said Obama's blockage of the deal was "extremely disappointing." He said China could invade Taiwan in the next decade and the country would need to defend itself.

"We are really up against the wall; if we cannot devise the right package of fifth-generation capabilities, be it new F-35 fighters, submarine technologies, new, cheap, long-range anti-ship cruise missiles and energy weapons, then we will face the threat of Chinese invasion of Taiwan perhaps as soon as the early 2020s," Fisher said.

Taiwan plans a strategy of "multiple deterrence" if China attacks, Feng Shih-kuan, Taiwan defense minister, said March 3, which would include preventing enemy forces from entering Taiwan by air, land, or sea, according to The China Post.

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President Barack Obama's administration blocked a sale of $1 billion in arms to Taiwan although the Pentagon and the State Department approved it, White House officials told The Washington Free Beacon....
Obama, Taiwan, Arms
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2017-59-14
Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 10:59 AM
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