U.S. gov't plans to sell F-16 fighters to Taiwan

An F-16 fighter jet

An F-16 fighter jet

China has repeatedly denounced USA arms sales to the island.

Yesterday's New York Times quoted unnamed USA officials as saying that the Trump administration, which is engaged in a major trade war with China, was moving forward with the sale and said the State Department gave informal notification of the plan to the House and Senate foreign affairs committees on Thursday.

"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", Rubio said in a statement.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) made a request to the U.S.in late February to purchase 66 F-16Vs. "The Department does not comment on proposed defense sales until they are formally notified to Congress", a State Department official told CNN.

Taiwan's Air Force said it is planning to establish a new fighter wing when new fighter jets are acquired after the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is moving ahead with its US$8 billion sale of F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan.

"We commend President Trump and his administration for their support of Taiwan and a free and open Indo-Pacific region", they said.

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"Otherwise, the Chinese side will certainly take countermeasures and the USA side will be responsible for all related consequences", Hua was quoted as saying.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was quoted by Xinhua as saying the Taiwan issue involves China's "core interests", and urged the United States to stop arms sales to and military contact with the self-ruled island.

Manufacturer Lockheed Martin says the newest version, the F-16 Block 70/72, includes many avionics, weapons and radar technologies not in existence when earlier models were created, AFP reports.

A F-16 fighter jet is seen flying in the skies.

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