Washington, March 15 (CNA) U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris Jr., head of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), maintained on Thursday that his command will continue to support Taiwan's efforts to increase its self-defense capabilities through regular arms sales and military training.
Speaking before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Harris talked about the ever-growing importance of Taiwan's defense capabilities in the face of China's growing military spending and capabilities.
To that end, he said that in line with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), "UPSACOM will continue supporting Taiwan's efforts to develop a credible, resilient, and cost-effective deterrent and self-defense capability," noting in particular regular arms sales and training for Taiwan's military.
The admiral urged the U.S. to continue helping Taiwan enhance its defense capabilities while showing resolve that "any attempt by China to force reunification on the people of Taiwan is unacceptable."
He listed recent sales of a number of weapons, including anti-ballistic missiles, anti-aircraft weapons and surveillance radar, as helping to increase Taiwan's defense capabilities.
In addition, Taiwan and the U.S. have made it clear since President Donald Trump's inauguration in 2017 that they are interested in maintaining regular arm sales.
On the same day, Taiwan's new Defense Minster Yen Teh-fa (???) reiterated the nation's interest in buying F-35 fighters from the U.S.
In response, spokeswoman Sonia Urbom of the American Institute in Taiwan, which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, made the following statement to CNA in an email.
"In accordance with the TRA, we will continue to make available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability," Urbom said. "We continue to review Taiwan's defensive needs on an ongoing basis and will consult with Congress as required."
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel