Defense minister gives assurances on U.S. arms sold to Taiwan

Facing lawmakers' doubts that the United States might have sold Taiwan weapons of poor quality, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (???) gave assurances Wednesday that all of the weapons supplied met Taiwan's requirements.

"Having served as a military attache in the United States, I can give my assurance" that all the weapons and equipment the U.S. has sold to Taiwan met the country's functional requirements, Feng said at a hearing of the Legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee.

The minister was at the Legislative Yuan to present the Ministry of National Defense's annual budget and administration plan for 2017.

During the hearing, lawmakers questioned whether the MND had inflated its budgets for weaponry purchases, citing recent media reports that the balance due for the 30 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters Taiwan bought from the U.S. had been cut by NT$4.9 billion (US$155 million).

Feng responded that his ministry held five meetings with the U.S. to discuss and review the management of the Apache program, and the negotiations ended with the U.S. agreeing to a cut in the yearly payment for the helicopters.

"It was a good result, but turned to be bad when people talked about the case in this way," Feng said.

As for the reported concerns that Taiwan has bought weapons and equipment of poor quality, he described that scenario as "impossible."

Since it started to do business with Taiwan, the U.S. has never sold bad weaponry to Taiwan, Feng said, noting that every weapons system or piece of equipment sold by the U.S. had met all of Taiwan's requirements in terms of functions and specifications.

He said he was qualified to give the assurance because he had served as a military attache in the U.S., the minister added.

The sale of 30 AH-64E Apache helicopters, which cost Taiwan nearly NT$60 billion, was announced by the George W. Bush government in 2008. Delivery was completed in 2014.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel