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US approves sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan for $ 8 billion | News



The US State Department approved the sale of 66 F-16 fighters in Taiwan, expected to anger Beijing.

Taiwan will receive the latest version of the fighter, built by Lockheed Martin, F-16C / D Block 70, in a $ 8 billion deal, the State Department announced on Tuesday.

Prior to the announcement, US President Donald Trump said "someone has to take over China".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that Trump had highlighted the green sale after Congress was notified last week.

The F-16s "are deeply in line with the arrangements, historical relations" between the US and China, Pompeo said.

"Our actions are in line with previous US policy. We simply follow the commitments we have made to all countries."

The sale also includes 75 General Electric Co engines, as well as other systems.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Rish, a Republican, welcomed the sale, saying "these fighters are critical to improving Taiwan's ability to protect its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from People's Republic of China ".

Taiwan's plan to modernize its air defense comes amid increasing Chinese military invasions.

Beijing regards Taiwan as part of China, which is awaiting reunification, but the island is self-governing and a close ally of the United States.

Anger in Beijing

In a statement on Defense Security

"This proposed sale will contribute to the recipient's ability to provide defense to the country of the Cooperation Agency that oversees US military sales abroad, stated that Taiwan's purchase of the F-1

6 "will not change the major military balance in the region." its airspace, regional security and interoperability with the United States. "

Gabriel Elizondo of Al Jazeera, reporting from Washington, DC, stated that if the sale goes through, it will be the largest militar y purchase from Taiwan for more than 20 years.

" This is part of the plan of the Trump administration for closer relations with Taiwan. The Trump administration sent high-level visitors to Taiwan, opened diplomatic offices in Taipei, and the Trump administration supported pro-Taiwan legislation, "he said.

" This arms sale is Taiwan's most important act of support, and certainly will upset the Chinese. "

On Tuesday, state-run China Daily said the sale was sending a" wrong signal "to Beijing.

A senior foreign ministry official was also quoted as saying that "no one should underestimate China's will to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity."

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Gen Shuang said US arms sales in Taiwan "severely violate" the Washington-Beijing agreements and "constitute a serious interference with China's domestic affairs."

US should "immediately cancel planned weapons"

"Otherwise, the US will have to bear all the consequences.

Taiwan already has a fleet of old F-16 models purchased in 1992 that have undergone several major

Lockheed Martin says the latest version, the F-16 Block 70/72, includes a lot of avionics, weapons and radar technology that didn't exist when creating earlier models.

strong, according to the company, so that it "can fly and fight until 2070 and beyond."

tion of the sale comes as Washington and Beijing face in heavy trade negotiations, which economists argue that hurt both super owners, and drag the global economy.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and News Agencies


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