News / Asia

Taiwan Presses US for Fighter Jets, Notes Progress in Ties with China

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou during a press conference in Taipei, May 10, 2011
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou during a press conference in Taipei, May 10, 2011

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has again pressed the United States to sell the island F-16 fighter jets and other military equipment, saying that such weapons help Taiwan level the playing field in its negotiations with China.  Speaking in Washington by video-link, Ma outlined the ways he says Taiwan's policies toward China are helping improve bilateral relations.

Since coming to office nearly three years ago, President Ma Ying-jeou has made improving Taiwan's relations with China a top priority.  He says his administration has made major strides in improving ties with China, especially in trade, tourism and cultural exchanges.

But Ma said Thursday that negotiating with China is not without its risks.

"The right leverage must be in place, otherwise Taiwan cannot credibly maintain an equal footing at the negotiating table," noted Ma.  "This is why I continue to urge the U.S. to provide Taiwan with necessary defensive weaponry, such as F-16 C/Ds and diesel-powered submarines."

China opposes any sale of arms to Taiwan and frequently demands that the United States end its weapons sales to the island.  China and Taiwan split after a civil war brought the Communist Party to power in Beijing in 1949.  Beijing insists that the self-ruled island is part of its territory and has threatened to use military force against it, if Taiwan seeks formal independence.

Last year, after U.S. President Barack Obama announced the sale of a $6.4 billion arms package to Taiwan, which included Patriot missiles and Black Hawk helicopters, Beijing suspended military ties with Washington.

Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States is obligated to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons systems.  Some military analysts say the F-16 fighter jet deal now under review by the Obama administration is being sidelined by concerns about how it would affect Sino-American relations.

In his video-link address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington, President Ma repeated a point that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has made that the United States can help itself by helping others defend themselves.

"In the end, only a strong U.S. commitment, backed by its credibility in East Asia, can guarantee the peace and stability of this region," added Ma.

Ma added that although the recent global economic downturn has affected Taiwan's defense budget, the island has earmarked more funds this year to help achieve its goal of creating a small but strong military and to purchase much-needed weapons systems.

One of the reasons Taiwan's economy is doing better, Ma said, is the policies his administration has implemented that have boosted trade and tourism with China.

"The arrival of nearly three million mainland Chinese visitors - up nearly 10 times - has created a tourism boom in Taiwan," Ma said.  "The increase in cross-[Taiwan] strait trade has also boosted Taiwan's total trade volume to a record high of $526 billion in 2010."

But critics in Taiwan argue that Ma's policies make Taipei overly reliant on Beijing, which they say has only one goal, to force Taiwan to unify with the mainland.  They also note that the improvement in bilateral ties has not substantially changed the way China treats Taiwan on the international stage.

Ma acknowledged that talks focusing on the political divide between Taiwan and China have yet to begin, but he noted that the agreements with China are helping to boost regional and global trade.

During the first quarter of this year, he said, trade with China increased by 15 percent, and trade rose by more that 30 percent with ASEAN member countries and the United States.  President Ma said that although it might seem ironic that other countries are benefiting from closer ties between Taipei and Beijing, that is exactly what Taiwan wants.

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs