TAIPEI, Taiwan, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- An arms deal with the United States has become a political hot potato in Taiwan.
James Soong, chairman of the People First Party, calls the proposed $193 million deal "a fool's arms purchase," the China Post reported.
The United States may have actually delayed approval of a budget with the deal included by giving Taiwan what lawmakers see as an ultimatum, the report said. Stephen Young, director of the American Taiwan Institute, urged passage, and an anonymous U.S. official told the Central News Agency in an interview that failure to approve the purchase threatens relations between the two countries.
"Young's remarks have made the passage of the bill uncertain. It's inappropriate to let it through at this moment, as a media survey had found that 65 percent of the public disapproves of Young," Tseng Yung-chuan of the Kuomintang told the Taipei Times.
Some Taiwanese officials believe the United States is trying to palm off outdated weapons systems on their country. Others argue that Taiwan cannot simply depend on U.S. support to maintain its independence without arming itself.