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The Obama administration has committed to deciding by Oct. 1 whether to allow the sale of 66 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16 jets to Taiwan, according to an aide to Sen. John Cornyn.
China opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province, and has tried to block sales of the F-16 airplanes to the island. Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou has pressed the U.S. to speed up decision on the jets.
Taiwan’s request for F-16 C/D model jets has been pending since 2006 and upgrades of its older F-16 A/B models have been on hold.
The U.S.-Taiwan Business Council said the timing of the decision “suggests that the Obama administration has no intention” of approving the sale of new F-16 jets. The date is sandwiched between Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to China in August and Chinese President Hu’s expected trip to Hawaii, the group said.
“It doesn’t seem plausible that the Obama administration would stand up for Taiwan policy in the face of two such senior visits from China,” the group said in a news release.
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According to news from Washington, U.S. Vice President Biden will visit China in mid-August and September to explain about a new round of arms sales to Taiwan.
U.S. side hopes the issue will not seriously harm bilateral relations. Although the protest and controversy, of course will continue, but if the long-troubled US-Taiwan arms sales F-16 fighters ends, both parties will be relieved.
The news from Washington that the Obama administration has tentatively decided to use this window of F-16 fighters to solve the problem of arms sales. Specific approach is Vice President Biden’s visit to China on August 17, in discussing the US-China relations and international relations, he will explain arms sales to Taiwan.
The F-16CD fighters of the Chinese arms sales has long been recognized as insurmountable red line. The Obama administration has refused to accept Taiwan’s asking price book. But even if the sensitivity is relatively lower, $ 4.5 billion worth of F-16AB fighters to upgrade the case, Obama has been unable to find an appropriate time to inform the Congress.