US ANNOUNCES SALE OF FIGHTER, TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT PARTS TO TAIWAN
Washington, July 30 (CNA) The US Department of Defense announced on Friday the possible sale to Taiwan of spare parts for its F-5E/F, IDF, F-16A/B fighters and C-130H transport aircraft, for an estimated US$150 million.
This is one of two proposed US arms sales to Taiwan. The other, of two E-2T Hawkeye 2000E airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, is expected to be announced next week.
The estimated cost of the two AWACS aircraft is US$400 million, according to US Congress sources.
At present, Taiwan has four AWACS aircraft, one of which was severely damaged in March 1997 when conducting a night training flight. It was learned that the aircraft is still under repair in the United States.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not affect the basic military balance in the region, and the implementation of the sale will not require the assignment of any additional US government or contractor representatives to Taiwan, a US Defense Department statement said.
The US administrative branch originally planned to give informal notice to the Congress last week for the two arms sales to Taiwan. However, it postponed the notice because of the controversy over Republic of China President Lee Teng-hui's "special state-to-state" statement on cross-Taiwan Strait relations.
Notice was finally given to the Congress this week for the sales, and the announcement by the Defense Department seems to suggest that the administrative branch has accepted the idea from Congress to omit the informal notice.
Generally speaking, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee have the right to express their objections to foreign arms sales within 20 days of the State Department giving informal notice, after which the State Department will send formal notice. The Defense Department does not usually make an announcement on the content of arms sales until after the Congress has received formal notice from the State Department.
In theory, Congress has 30 days to consider and express objections to arms sales after it receives formal notice from the State Department. However, in practice, the Congress seldom objects to such sales after it has received both informal and formal notice. (By Jay Chen and David Hsu)