Official says offensive weapons threaten stability and island should focus on defence Taiwan's plan to mass produce long-range missiles targeting the mainland has hit a snag, with the top US official on the island opposing their production and deployment. Rejecting recent reports that the US favoured Taiwan's development of such missiles, Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan which represents US interests in the absence of formal ties with the island, said Washington believed offensive weapons in Taiwan were a threat to overall security. 'The US view is that the focus should be on defensive weapons, not on offensive weapons,' he said. Taiwanese media reports have said computer-simulated war games staged on the island showed Taiwan had developed long-range missiles capable of striking mainland air fields and military bases. Defence Minister Lee Jye confirmed on April 26 that Taiwan was developing a missile capable of hitting the mainland's military bases in order to defend the island against a possible attack. Yesterday, Mr Young quoted Dennis Wilder, the special assistant to US President George W. Bush, as saying in Washington last week that offensive weapons on the mainland or Taiwan would be destabilising. He said Washington had 'engaged in dialogues' with Taiwan over the missile-development issue. He stressed that Taiwan should concentrate on developing its defensive capabilities, and he felt frustrated that Taipei had done nothing in the past six years to demonstrate its determination to defend itself. He was referring to a long-stalled arms budget to buy 'defensive' arms, including Patriot anti-missile systems, anti-submarine aircraft and conventional submarines from the US, a deal approved by Mr Bush in 2001. He warned that while the mainland had continued to build up its armaments, the failure of Taiwanese legislators to reach a consensus on approving the US$18 billion arms package would hurt the island in the long run. 'Put aside your partisan differences and pass a budget you all say you want to see effected,' he said. Opposition legislators have boycotted the budget because they say the price is too high. Asked if US frustration over the deadlock would lead Washington to review its Taiwan policy, Mr Young said the US had no plan to do so. But he warned that there could be a change after the US and Taiwan elected new leaders next year. He denied that Washington tried to micro-manage Taiwan's affairs, saying the US was not only the best friend of Taiwan but also its best security partner. But when there was a need, the US would 'speak out'. He said Washington had constantly asked Taiwan and the mainland to maintain their status quo to ensure regional stability. Asked if the US felt it had been betrayed by recent pro-independence comments by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, he said Mr Chen had already clarified that he would abide by commitments made in his 2000 and 2004 inaugural speeches not to declare independence. In his recent comments, seen by the US as election rhetoric, Mr Chen said Taiwan must declare independence, drop its 'Republic of China' title for the name 'Taiwan', and institute a new constitution.