Trump Administration Moves Forward with Plan to Sell $8B Worth of F-16s to Taiwan Despite China’s Objections

  • Despite China’s objections, the Trump administration is proceeding with its plan to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan in a deal worth $8 billion after informally notifying Congress of its intent.
  • Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch said in a Friday statement: “These fighters are critical to improving Taiwan’s ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People’s Republic of China.”
  • Risch said: “I commend the Trump administration for making this decision to bolster Taiwan’s defensive capabilities, and note the strong bipartisan and bicameral support for this sale.”
  • Democratic Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Republican ranking member Michael McCaul issued a joint statement that said “the sale will send a strong message.”
  • The statement said: “The sale of F-16s to Taiwan sends a strong message about the U.S. commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific. As leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we are pleased the administration is moving forward with this sale and have every confidence that it will be supported on a bipartisan and bicameral basis.”
  • On Thursday, the Trump administration sent the informal notification to the committees that it had approved the sale to Taiwan, which had requested purchasing 66 F-16s.
  • In order for the transaction to go through, “the full Congress still needs to receive a formal notification that the sale has been approved. Typically, that happens 30 days after an informal notification, but the timeline can be sped up.”
  • A State Department official said: “We are aware of media reports regarding a possible sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Taiwan. The department does not comment on proposed defense sales until they are formally notified to Congress.”
  • The Trump administration last month “approved a $2 billion sale to Taiwan for 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks and other equipment.”
  • The move prompted China’s foreign ministry to tell the U.S. that it was “playing with fire.”
  • Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement: “I commend the administration for moving forward with the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. As the Chinese government and Communist Party seeks to extend its authoritarian reach in the region, it is critical that the United States continue to enhance our strategic relationship with our democratic partner Taiwan through regular and consistent support.”

Reference Links

  • South China Morning Post: Trump administration to go ahead with US$8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, angering China READ
  • The Hill: Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China READ
  • Defense News: Trump OK’s F-16 sale to Taiwan amid China tensions READ
  • The Diplomat: US Moves Ahead With $8 Billion F-16 Fighter Jets Sale to Taiwan READ

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