Taiwan welcomes US Senate push for F-16 sale
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Last Updated: Sunday, May 29, 2011, 16:04
Taipei: Taiwan said on Sunday it welcomed a push by nearly half the US Senate for the sale of dozens of F-16 fighters to the island in an arms deal Taipei said would help its dealings with China.

In a letter to President Barack Obama last week, 45 out of 100 US senators urged the administration to swiftly approve the sale of 66 F16-C/Ds to Taiwan as the fast-expanding Chinese forces tip the military balance in the region, the Foreign Ministry said.

“We're pleased to see the bipartisan move in the US Senate,” Foreign Ministry spokesman James Chang said.

“The arms sale will help Taiwan boost its self-defence capabilities, thus giving it more leverage while engaging the Chinese mainland,” he said.

Ties between Taiwan and China have improved markedly since 2008 after Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power on a platform of beefing up trade links and allowing in more Chinese tourists.

Taiwan applied to the US government to buy 66 F-16 fighters in early 2007, but observers say Washington has held up the deal for fear of angering Beijing.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, May 29, 2011, 16:04

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