Wendell Minnick

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou urged the U.S. to release F-16 fighters and submarines during a speech May 12 at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes Wendell Minnick in Defense News.

The president suggests Taiwan needs the weaponry to negotiate with China on an equal footing.

Wenddell Minnick:

Though Ma has made an effort of “never rocking the boat” and implementing “full consultation” with the U.S. on Cross-Strait discussions, the U.S. is still reluctant to provide Taiwan with new arms.

In 2001, the Bush administration promised Taiwan eight diesel electric submarines, but the deal has been held up by a combination of political and manufacturing hurdles. Taiwan’s request for 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters for $5.5 billion and a $4.5 billion upgrade package for 146 F-16A/B Block 20 fighters has been on hold since 2007 and 2009, respectively.

Part of the reason for the delays, analysts say, are punitive actions taken by Beijing following arms releases totaling $13 billion in 2008 and 2010. China ended military-to-military dialogue with the U.S. and threatened to retaliate economically after each release. The effort appears to be paying off. China and the U.S. just concluded the third Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Washington last week where China’s Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

More in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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