State Department spokesman Ned Price was left speechless by a question during Wednesday’s press briefing about weapons sales to Taiwan.
Price was asked by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee if there are any other non-state entities the United States sells weapons to. Price was silent for several seconds after appearing to stammer, before getting out a non-answer.
“We’ll come back to you if we have anything to add,” Price finally said without answering the question.
“In other words none,” Lee replied.
“I don’t know if there’s another example Matt,” Price added, before moving on to a new topic. (RELATED: Chinese Military Surrounds Taiwan In Massive ‘Rehearsal’ Of Invasion Plans)
Lee’s question seemingly referenced back to a prior exchange the two had in the same press briefing, when Lee pressed Price over the claim that the United States has not changed its Taiwan policy and is not supporting Taiwan independence.
“When you say you do not support Taiwan independence, fine, but you sell them weapons. You send official delegations there, congressional delegations,” Lee said. “So what I’m getting to is the WHO and the WHA this year, and you are pushing again, as I understand it, for Taiwan to be invited or to participate as an independent entity as a – not part of China. So how is that not supporting Taiwanese independence?”
Price reiterated the administration’s line that they welcome the participation of Taiwan in international bodies that do not require statehood as a condition of membership. Lee then asked Price if the administration has the same stance toward Palestine, which also does not have U.S.-recognized statehood. Price simply answered that the U.S. supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Later, when another reporter asked about delays to weapons shipments to Taiwan and whether or not the mass amount of arms being shipped by the U.S. to Ukraine is affecting shipments to Taiwan, Lee took the opportunity to ask the question that stumped Price: “Off the top of your head, how many other non-state entities do you guys sell weapons to for self-defense?”