Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch, a Republican, has welcomed the proposed sale of the Lockheed Martin F-16 jets. It marks a major advance for the island's aging air defense capabilities, even if a base model of the fighter plane has been in its skies for nearly half a century.
BEIJING (AP) - China "will not sit idly by" if the US proceeds with a sale of advanced F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan, a senior Chinese army officer said Thursday while warning of other potential countermeasures in addition to punishing foreign firms involved in the deal. Beijing has previously criticised arms sales to Taiwan.
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Some people have been pushing the new government to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing, lured by "the glitter of China's economic power", but they are in the minority and have motives other than the national interests of the Solomon Islands, the parliamentarians said.
Taiwan unveiled its largest defense spending increase in more than a decade last week, amid rising military tensions with China. There is also installation taking place by the United States of upgraded electronics, inclusive of AESA radars, on the existing fleet of Taiwan's F-16s. Though the planes were designed in the 1970s, Taiwan has been seeking newer United States aircraft for more than a decade, and this would be the first such deal for American fighters since 1992.
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"We demand from the United States to adhere to joint agreements and immediately cancel the supply plan". He stressed the deal's symbolism. Last month, the US State Department approved a $2.2 billion (€1.8 billion) arms package to Taipei that includes M1A2T Abrams tanks as well as surface-to-air missiles.
The approval of the sale comes as Washington and Beijing face off in tough trade negotiations that economists say are hurting both of the superpowers, as well as dragging down the global economy.
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