This is a pretty terrible move, if true.
Taipei Times reports:
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government asked the US to halt weapons sales to Taiwan in order to curry favor with Beijing ahead of last week’s cross-strait negotiations, the latest edition of Defense News reported.However, experts quoted by Defense News were concerned that the freeze, originally intended for the duration of the cross-strait negotiations, could extend until a new administration is installed in the White House next year.
The periodical on Monday quoted unnamed sources as saying the temporary freeze had been requested because the new government, worried by a troubled beginning to its term, feared the arms issue could jeopardize a promised deal on direct cross-strait flights and the entry of Chinese tourists — key platforms of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) election campaign.
The magazine quoted Mark Stokes, the Pentagon’s country director for China and Taiwan from 1997 to 2004, as saying: “It’s the law of physics. Once you lose that momentum, it’s nearly impossible to get it back.”
...Defense News also clarified its earlier report on elements in the US government that want arms sales to Taiwan ended. It quoted an unnamed US government official as saying that officials dubbed as “panda huggers” in the US embassy in Beijing, the US Treasury Department and the US State Department were conspiring to stop arms sales to Taipei independent of the KMT government’s agenda.
... “It is incorrect to say that the Bush administration has no intention of selling arms to Taiwan in the remainder of its term,” [Taiwan’s representative in Washington Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday].
Meanwhile, the DPP yesterday alleged that a top US official visited the Presidential Office after Ma’s inauguration to meet National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi (蘇起).
Cheng said Su told the official “point blank” that to improve cross-strait relations, arms procurements would have to be suspended.
The DPP said Ma was not present at the meeting.