Legislature Discusses Arms Procurement 吳釗燮透露美將再宣布軍售 引洩密疑慮

Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu was accused of leaking confidential information after he said that the US will announce additional arms sales to Taiwan. Deputy National Defense Minister Alex Po said on March 17 that all potentials deals remain unaffected and are still proceeding as normal.

Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu revealed on March 16 that the US will soon announce another arms deal for Taiwan, and was accused of leaking classified information. On March 17, Deputy National Defense Minister Alex Po said all deals follow established procedures and added that the budgets for all future procurements from the US have already been approved. There are reports that the deal mentioned by Wu will include AGM-158 joint air-to-surface standoff missiles, which the military has long coveted but the US has repeatedly refused to sell. 

Chao Tien-lin, Legislator (DPP): “Has there been any progress from the Trump administration to the current Biden administration?”
Alex Po, Dep. Nat'l Def. Minister: “Negotiations are ongoing, but I can't reveal any details to you here because it involves classified information. So the talks haven't collapsed? No.”
The low mission-capability rate of Mirage fighters has come under scrutiny after one fighter crashed several days ago. Many legislators questioned if the fighters would be decommissioned or sold to India to cover some of the procurement costs. Po said Taiwan's Mirage mission-capability rate exceeds the global average and the military is not considering selling the planes. However, the accident has made it clear that the Mirage's crew ratio is insufficient, and an issue of concern is whether the Air Force can recruit sufficient F-16V pilots within five years.

Alex Po, Dep. Nat'l Def. Minister: “I guarantee that our current crew ratio is sufficient for any missions we need to carry out between the Taiwan Strait. I often analyze our pilots to see if they're getting worse with each generation. I would like to inform everyone that every generation is stronger than the previous one. That's what I've seen. The things that they learn are different than what I learned before I graduated.”

Chinese military planes continue to buzz Taiwan's ADIZ, and the Air Force sends fighters to drive them away and uses missile systems to monitor them. Legislators asked how the military will respond if China sends warships.

Alex Po, Dep. Nat'l Def. Minister: “Whenever Chinese warships conduct any kind of mission in any area, our Navy is always off to one side watching. If they approach within 12 nautical miles or even 24 nautical miles or endanger our regional safety, then our Navy will consider whether it's appropriate to inform the public.”

The military has allocated NT$236.9 billion to upgrade naval and air capabilities. It has commissioned the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology to complete preparations to mass produce weapons by 2026. Contracts also include overdue penalties to ensure that weapons and equipment will be delivered on schedule.