Taiwan plans to buy US frigates despite China thaw
(AFP) – January 11, 2010
TAIPEI — Taiwan plans to buy eight second-hand Perry-class frigates from the United States despite improved ties with once-bitter foe China, a local newspaper reported Monday.
The island hopes to arm them with a version of the advanced Aegis Combat System, which uses computers and radar to take out multiple targets, as well as sophisticated missile launch technology, the Taipei-based China Times said.
The defence ministry said in a reaction to the report that aging frigates now serving the navy needed to be phased out, but that it had not yet decided on the type of vessels that would replace them.
"The overall strategy of the armed forces will be taken into consideration as the defence ministry evaluates the plan," it said in a statement, adding that the budget would be another factor to be weighed.
The United States designed the Perry-class frigates in the 1970s but the majority remain in service, equipped with various forms of modern technology.
The deal would add to Taiwan's existing inventory, as it already has eight Perry-class frigates built on the island.
The China Times report came less than a week after the US Defense Department said it had approved the sale of Patriot missile equipment to Taiwan as part of a package passed by Congress more than a year ago.