McCain Urges Administration to Beef Up Taiwan Arms Sale

John McCain today urged the Bush administration to beef up its pending arms deal with Taiwan by adding F-16s and submarines to the multi-billion-dollar package.

The Bush administration notified Congress last week that it may sell a package of defense systems to the island nation, a move that has been criticized by China. See McCain's statement below:
I welcome reports indicating that the sale of defensive arms to Taiwan -- a package that has been on hold for too long -- will now move forward. By notifying Congress of its intent to provide weapons aimed at bolstering Taiwan's self defense, the administration is taking a step in the right direction. I have long supported such sales in order to strengthen deterrence in the Taiwan Strait and to help preserve the peace. American interests in Asia are well-served through faithful implementation of the Taiwan Relations Act, and if I am fortunate enough to be elected President, I will continue the longstanding and close ties between our peoples.

In that spirit, however, I note that the administration has refrained from providing all of the elements requested by Taiwan for its legitimate security requirements. For example, the package will not include submarines or new F-16 aircraft. I urge the administration to reconsider this decision, in light of its previous commitment to provide submarines and America's previous sales of F-16s. These sales -- which could translate into tens of thousands of jobs here at home -- would help retain America's edge in the production of advanced weaponry and represent a positive sign in these difficult economic times.

We should seek cooperative and productive relations with China that proceed in a spirit of confidence, and we should promote the improvement of cross-strait relations. As we do, however, we should understand that the possibility of productive ties between Taiwan and China are enhanced, not diminished, when Taipei speaks from a position of strength. I believe that America should continue to sell defensive weapons to Taiwan in the future, in accordance with its security requirements, and stand by this remarkable free and democratic people.