Friday, September 26, 2008

Taiwan Arms Sales: Congressional Notifications Remain Frozen

As the scheduled final day of this Congressional session, Friday has come and gone with no movement on Congressional notifications, as required by Section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), for at least seven major Taiwan arms sales programs.

There was a glimmer of hope on Thursday, when a routine meeting of senior-level officials from the Department of State, National Security Council staff, and Department of Defense included the issue of notifications on the agenda (see CRS Report on notification process).

Hearsay was that there may have been a push to release a select few, perhaps lower dollar figure systems such as munitions. However, a last minute call by a senior Bush administration official scuttled the whole deal, presumably due to anticipated Chinese reaction.

Turns out, however, that the Congressional session has been extended at least through the weekend and perhaps into the early part of next week to address the financial-related legislation. In accordance with the AECA, the 36(b) notifications need to be sent over to Congress while it is officially in session.

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