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Monday, 9 April, 2001, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Taiwan presses for US arms sales
US destroyer carrying NMD compatible weapons
The US wants to sell advanced missile technology to Taiwan
By Damian Grammaticas in Taipei

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has said he hopes US arms sales to the island will not be influenced by the dispute between the United States and China over the collision of their aircraft.


There's been concern in Taiwan that China might use its continued detention of the crew of the spy plane as a means to pressure America over the arms sales

The issue of the sales is one over which Washington and Beijing have strong disagreements.

Beijing opposes all weapons sales to the island, which it regards as a renegade province.

President George W Bush is due to decide on a new package of weapons for Taiwan later this month.

In his first comments on the surveillance plane dispute, President Chen said that he hoped the current standoff can be resolved peacefully.

'Separate issues'

President Chen was meeting the American senator, Jay Rockefeller, who is in Taipei in his capacity as the head of the United States Republic of China Business Council.

Chen Shui-bian
President Chen is hoping that arms sales at the spy plane dispute will not be linked
Taiwan's president said the issue of the spy plane and the issue of the arms sales are separate ones.

China has been building up its military forces, and Taiwan is asking the United States to sell it ships equipped with the advanced Aegis anti-missile radar system, as well as submarines and anti-submarine aircraft.

Beijing has in the past threatened military action against Taiwan if it does not make progress towards reunifying with the mainland, and has objected strongly to the forthcoming sales.

There has been concern in Taiwan that China might use its continued detention of the crew of the spy plane as a means to pressure America over the arms sales.

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See also:

15 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
US warns China on missile build-up
14 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China warns against US missile defence
13 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
US report urges Taiwan arms sales
06 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China warns Bush over Taiwan
21 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
Q&A: Taiwan's relations with China
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