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F-16A/B will put squeeze on military budget: MND

TAIPEI--The Defense Ministry said yesterday Taiwan's heavy investment in upgrading its fleet of F-16A/B fighter jets is squeezing budgets allocated for other weaponry systems.

Taiwan's focus on upgrading its F-16A/Bs is reducing the chances for other weaponry systems to be renewed, Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu said at a legislative hearing on the country's defense budget.

The minister's remarks were a response to a question by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tuan Yi kang.

Tuan asked Kao whether Taiwan will consider buying American M1 Abrams tanks now that the U.S. has withdrawn the tanks from the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan and is selling the military vehicles.

According to Tuan, former Deputy Minister of National Defense Chao Shih-chang has said that Taiwan needs to procure 200 tanks.

Taiwan's tank fleet currently consists of 450 CM11 tanks and 300 M60A3 battle tanks, Kao said.

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