Some of you sent me the testimony of Jim Shinn in front of the Armed Services Committee….

MR. SHINN: You’ll pardon me if I consult my notes very carefully, since anything regarding Taiwan, it gets parsed very carefully, not just here but abroad.

It is true that for a couple years Taiwanese defense expenditures actually decreased in the face of what, in our view, was a significantly expanding PLA force. It appears that that’s reversed, that we have a — that the Taiwanese National Assembly has passed this budget and they’re going to be engaged in a — I think long overdue uptick in acquiring some additional systems.

REP. COURTNEY: So the recent decision to sort of put this on hold is temporary? Is that your view?

MR. SHINN: Actually, I don’t believe that we made a decision to put things in abeyance. This was — this was driven, as far as I understand, by Taiwanese domestic politics.

Newspapers here had reported that the KMT had asked the US for a freeze on arms sales during the sellout negotiations with China. Wouldn’t want to upset poor Beijing! Some readers took Shinn’s remarks above for an admission that this was true.

It may be true — and I think it is — but these remarks won’t support it. I didn’t blog on this yesterday while waiting for the facts to come in, because I didn’t read it as confirming the story. Sure enough, I have it on good authority from a highly-placed source that Shinn’s remarks referred to the 6 year stall by the KMT in the legislature, NOT the nefarious de facto arms freeze.

I do believe that the KMT and the US State Department worked out the de facto arms freeze between themselves — observe how Ma promised and promised that the legislature would pass the arms budget and then finally, in June of ‘07 they passed the budget with the caveat that it would need the State Department to approve the letter? And then the Bush Administration didn’t approve the request. What a coincidence, eh?

Note Shinn’s opening line — in which he observes that he is going to be careful in his testimony because many people read much into remarks about Taiwan. He isn’t going to reveal the KMT/Bush Administration plot to freeze arms sales to Taiwan in an open forum like this.

Send us the F-16s!