U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has criticized the Obama goverment for not letting Taiwan buy the new F-16 jet fighters it wanted:
“The upgrade of older model F-16s is a modest step in the right direction but woefully insufficient to meet Taiwan’s increasingly urgent requirements for modern combat fighters and other defensive weapons systems. The Administration’s most recent China Military Power Report clearly shows the threats that Taiwan faces from an increasingly aggressive China. The decision by the Administration not to include the F-16 C/D fighter in this package calls into question the Administration’s commitment to longstanding policy to ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself from mainland China, as legislatively mandated in the Taiwan Relations Act.
“This deal has Beijing’s fingerprints all over it.”
The Obama administration´s decision has received a cautious welcome by the Taiwanese government, while the opposition has been critical:
However, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts to describe the US arms sale of F-16A/B upgrades as an “achievement” was regretful and contradictory.
“We don’t understand why the two ministries expressed gratitude when Taiwan came up short of its wish for F-16C/Ds procurement,” DPP spokesperson Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) said, noting that Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) in May explained to US officials why Taiwan desperately needs the F-16C/D and yet, on Wednesday night, he said the offered package was not a bad deal and he was not disappointed at all.
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The Obama administration´s refusal not to allow Taiwan to buy the jets it urgently needs is shameful and, as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen so rightly points out, "has Beijing’s fingerprints all over it". This is not the way to treat an old ally.