Taiwan still wants the United States to approve further weapons sales despite a marked thaw in tensions between the island and mainland China, the government spokesman said July 16.
Johnny Chiang, the minister of the Government Information Office, said on a visit to Washington that national security remained paramount for the self-ruling island and "for its democracy."
In order to have a credible deterrence to prevent any future miscalculation, it is reasonable and necessary for Taiwan to continue to have those armaments that we cannot manufacture ourselves," he told reporters.
Chiang said that Taiwan still had a standing request for weapons including F-16 fighter-jets. The United States in January approved a 6.4 billion-dollar package including helicopters, anti-missile defenses and mine-sweepers.
China protested the sale to Taiwan, where nationalists fled in 1949 after losing the mainland's civil war to the communists. Beijing considers the island a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
But relations have improved since Taiwan in 2008 elected Beijing-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou. China and Taiwan last month signed a trade pact, marking the most sweeping cooperation yet between the two sides.
Despite sealing the pact, Chiang said it was too early for China and Taiwan to engage in formal talks on a long-term political settlement.
"We don't think... that our mutual understanding and mutual trust is mature enough to talk about those sovereignty issues," Chiang said.
Ma has sold the trade deal on economic terms and argued that - whatever Beijing's political motivations - the agreement would ease Taiwan's isolation.
Ma's critics fear that the agreement would jeopardize the island's de facto independence and may eventually turn it into a Chinese territory along the lines of Hong Kong and Macau.5 me