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Rubio: Arms Sales An Overdue Step Toward Strengthening Taiwan’s Defenses

Dec 17, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding the Administration’s announcement on the first arms sale to Taiwan in four years:

“The U.S.-Taiwan relationship is based on our shared values and our common interest in peace and stability in Asia.  That is why the congressional notification of an arms package for Taiwan is a welcome, albeit belated step forward in upholding America’s moral and legal responsibility to help Taipei determine its own political future free from coercion.

“When the Taiwanese people head to the polls next month to exercise their right to peacefully choose a new government, there should be no doubt that America will continue to provide all necessary military and diplomatic support to help them preserve their vibrant democratic system that has achieved so much success.

“While this latest package is a welcome development, I am concerned that it has now been over four years – the longest period since the Taiwan Relations Act was passed in 1979 – since the last notification was made to Congress. In contrast with President Obama, who has shown excessive deference to Beijing, our next President needs to ensure that China is not allowed to hold the process hostage by threatening to link its cooperation on other matters to America’s support for Taiwan. U.S. decisions about what arms to sell Taiwan should be based first and foremost on the island’s legitimate defense needs.

“This package helps to increase and replace or modernize Taiwan’s existing capabilities, but it falls short of truly enhancing Taiwan’s defenses in a way that will give Beijing, which continues to threaten Taiwan with thousands of missiles, pause.  Our next President needs to develop a comprehensive plan for helping to strengthen Taiwan’s Armed Forces, including expediting its acquisition of modern air and undersea warfare capabilities, enhancing its asymmetric capabilities, expanding high-level training, and allowing for more joint military planning between the Flag and General Officers of our two countries.

“Taiwan is one of America’s oldest and most dependable security partners in Asia. We need to start investing again in that partnership as our two peoples together pursue a region that is peaceful, prosperous, and free.”