Gates is expected to discuss the potential sale in talks with Chinese Minister of National Defense Liang Guanglie (梁光烈) at the Shangri-La security dialogue in Singapore this weekend.The Taipei Times article goes on to Richard Fisher, a strongly conservative US and China military and defense analyst, who points out that (1) Gates has essentially handed China influence over American diplomatic and military strategy; and (2) our allies in Asia have to be wondering what other aspect of US policy China is acquiring ownership of. If the US is really 'threading the needle' between Taiwan's needs and China's calculated policy of expressing anger, then China has just won a major victory over the US.
During a meeting with US reporters on the way to Singapore, Gates was asked if — in view of pressure building in Congress to let Taipei have the planes — the benefits to Taiwan’s security would outweigh the costs that would be incurred to the relationship with China.
He replied: “We do have obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA] and we have this discussion in virtually every meeting that we have with the Chinese.”
“I would say that I think under both the [former US president George W.] Bush and Obama administrations, we have tried to thread the needle pretty carefully in terms of Taiwan’s defensive capabilities, but at the same time being aware of China’s sensitivities,” Gates said. “I think both administrations have done this very thoughtfully and very carefully. By the same token, just as the Chinese are very open with us about their concerns, we are also open with them about our obligations.”
In addition to Fisher's points, it should also be noted that nowhere in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) does it say that outsiders should be consulted in weapons sales; in fact the language of the TRA specifically excludes that (from taiwandocuments.org):
Sec 3302(b) Determination of Taiwan's defense needsNote that word there "solely". It rules out input by outsiders (including Taiwan) into the weapons sales process.
The President and the Congress shall determine the nature and quantity of such defense articles and services based solely upon their judgment of the needs of Taiwan, in accordance with procedures established by law. Such determination of Taiwan's defense needs shall include review by United States military authorities in connection with recommendations to the President and the Congress.
Let's hope that there is a "clarification" with significant backpedaling by Gates. It's absolutely disgusting that a major US official is paying attention to the totally calculated and wholly fake "sensitivities" of Beijing on the Taiwan issue.
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