136 U.S. congressmen call for sale of F-16 fighter jets
CNAWASHINGTON -- In a joint letter sent to U.S. President Barack Obama Friday, 136 members of the House of Representatives called on the U.S. administration to seriously deal with Taiwan's self-defense by selling it F-16 C/D fighter jets.
May 16, 2010, 12:02 am TWN
Initiated by Shelley Berkley, Gerald Connolly, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Phil Gingrey, the co-chairmen of the Taiwan Caucus, a congressional group friendly to Taiwan, the letter urged the Obama government to come to a decision on the arms deal as soon as possible.
The U.S. government, in its latest US$6.4-billion arms package to Taiwan announced in January, excluded the F-16 C/Ds, which the congressmen said Taiwan desperately needs.
Taiwan's air defense capability has been declining because of the aging of its fleet and China's deployment of 1,300 short- and medium-range missiles targeted at Taiwan, the letter said, necessitating the sale.
With the F-16 jet's production lines soon to be closed, selling F-16 C/Ds to Taiwan has become more urgent, the letter said.
Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. is obliged to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons.