http://www.sinodaily.com/reports/Taiwan_Still_need_US_arms_despite_China_thaw_999.html Taiwan still wants the United States to approve further weapons sales despite a marked thaw in tensions between the island and mainland China, the government spokesman said Friday. Johnny Chiang, the minister of the Government Information Office, said on a visit to Washington that national security remained paramount for the self-ruling island and "for its democracy." "In order to have a credible deterrence to prevent any future miscalculation, it is reasonable and necessary for Taiwan to continue to have those armaments that we cannot manufacture ourselves," he told reporters. Chiang said that Taiwan still had a standing request for weapons including F-16 fighter-jets. The United States in January approved a 6.4 billion-dollar package including helicopters, anti-missile defenses and mine-sweepers. China protested the sale to Taiwan, where nationalists fled in 1949 after losing the mainland's civil war to the communists. Beijing considers the island a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. But relations have improved since Taiwan in 2008 elected Beijing-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou. China and Taiwan last month signed a trade pact, marking the most sweeping cooperation yet between the two sides. Despite sealing the pact, Chiang said it was too early for China and Taiwan to engage in formal talks on a long-term political settlement. "We don't think... that our mutual understanding and mutual trust is mature enough to talk about those sovereignty issues," Chiang said. Ma has sold the trade deal on economic terms and argued that -- whatever Beijing's political motivations -- the agreement would ease Taiwan's isolation. Ma's critics fear that the agreement would jeopardize the island's de facto independence and may eventually turn it into a Chinese territory along the lines of Hong Kong and Macau. earlier related report Taiwan agents jailed for spying for China: report Taipei (AFP) July 17, 2010 - Two former law enforcement agents from Taiwan have been sentenced to prison terms for selling secrets to China, a report said Saturday. Chen Chih-kao, who quit Taiwan's Investigation Bureau 13 years ago to do business in Shanghai, got a three-year jail term for spying for China with the help of Lin Yu-nong, said the United Daily News, citing a Supreme Court ruling. Chen, 58, paid Lin about 232,000 Taiwan dollars (7,250 US) during 2006 and 2007 to collect confidential information on the bureau's "national security net system" and a financial crime-fighting center, the report said. Lin, who was fired by the bureau after he was arrested and indicted three years ago, was sentenced to six years in prison, the report said. Supreme Court officials were not immediately available for comment on the report. Taiwan and China have spied on each other ever since they split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. Beijing still claims the island as its territory.