Taiwan’s plans to build a new aircraft carrier suggest that they, at least, think he might consider it.
The Motley Fool
Date: Mar 26, 2017
By: Rich Smith (TMFDitty)
On Nov. 8, the voters of the United States elected Donald Trump president. It took the new president-elect less than a month to shake up U.S. relations with China — and potentially chart a new course for relations with Taiwan.
On Dec. 2 — negative-1.5 months into his official term as president of the United States — Trump accepted a telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. That was the first time leaders (or leaders-to-be) of the two countries had spoken directly, one to the other, since the U.S. ended official diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 under its “One-China” policy. It may also have laid the groundwork for a new U.S. policy of increasing arms exports to Taiwan.
This theory gained further strength when it was revealed last week that the Trump administration may be preparing to seek Congressional approval for a large sale of advanced weaponry to the island nation. Late last year, the Obama administration scuttled a deal to sell Taiwan $1 billion worth of advanced weapons, but now it seems his successor wants to put the deal back on track. According to Reuters, the White House’s new arms package is believed to include “advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles to defend against China” — and could be even bigger than the $1 billion deal that Obama had contemplated.
What about the F-35?
One weapons system that appears not to be on the table — at least not yet — is Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 stealth fighter jet. But it’s possible even the F-35 could soon be included in a deal. After all, the U.S. has already agreed to sell F-35s to Japan, and to South Korea as well. As the third major U.S. ally in the region, Taiwan would be a natural customer for the F-35. [FULL STORY]