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Taiwanese govt presses lawmakers to pass US weapons package


PINGTUNG, NOV 8 (AP): Taiwan's Defense Ministry turned up the pressure on legislators opposed to a multibillion-dollar American weapons package Tuesday, touting the benefits of new anti-submarine aircraft it wants to combat rival China.
Defense officials showed more than 60 local reporters aging S-2T planes at a sprawling naval air station, after lionising the American-made P-3 Orion in a military briefing.
On Monday the officials had talked up the virtues of Patriot Advanced Capability III missiles and state-of-the-art diesel submarines, the other two components of the US arms package.
"We really need the P-3s," said Adm. Lee Chao-peng, Taiwan's deputy fleet commander. "They will give us much longer cruising time and much more flexibility."
Lee's comments came as opposition lawmakers continued their efforts to hold up consideration of the 480 billion New Taiwan dollar (US$15.3 billion; euro11.6 billion) arms deal in the island's legislature.