United States plans F-16 jet sales to Taiwan

Cheryl Sanders
August 19, 2019

The State Department told Congress on Thursday night, right after secretary of state Mike Pompeo had signed a memo approving the sale, officials said.

Eliot Engel and Michael McCaul, respectively the chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the planned sale "sends a strong message about the US commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific".

"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.

Today the administration took a critical step toward bolstering the national security of the United States and our longstanding ally Taiwan with the sale of F-16s.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul and Chairman Eliot Engel expressed a similar view on the arms sale.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and staunch Taiwan supporter, welcomed the notification.

The paper said once those committees gave the go ahead, which would probably come within days or weeks, there would follow a formal notification to Congress, which would trigger a 30-day period for objections.

One of the U.S. lawmakers who lent support for the arms sale, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, commended the U.S. administration for moving forward with the sale to strengthen Taiwan's defense capabilities.

Observers say the United States is using the arms sale to put pressure on China at a time when the two countries are locked in a tit-for-tat trade dispute.

Despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties, US law requires Washington to ensure Taiwan has the means to defend itself.

China has responded furiously to all such sales and recently announced it would impose sanctions on any USA enterprises involved in such deals, saying they undermine China's sovereignty and national security. China has also stepped up efforts at military intimidation, holding military exercises across the Taiwan Strait and circling the island with bombers and fighter jets.

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