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 Push for Taiwan arms sales

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PostSubject: Push for Taiwan arms sales   Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:19 am

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_457299.html

WASHINGTON - SUPPORTERS of Taiwan in the US Congress on Friday pushed for President Barack Obama to move toward selling arms to the island, a step that would almost certainly anger China.

Mr Obama sought warmer relations with China on his maiden visit this week and is widely seen as reluctant to act soon on Taiwan's request to buy F-16 fighter-jets, which the island says it needs to modernise its ageing fleet.

A bill sponsored by eight supporters of Taiwan in the House of Representatives would require the Obama administration to explain to Congress its plans on defence cooperation with Taiwan.

If approved, the bill would require Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to provide 'detailed briefings' to Congress on the issue within 90 days.

The measure was led by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She was joined by four Republicans and three lawmakers from Mr Obama's Democratic Party.

A Republican congressman, Joe Barton, introduced a separate bill that would call on the United States to make a decision 'based solely' on Taiwan's defence needs. -- AFP

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