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This discussion thread is related to our F-16 news <a href="http://www.f-16.net/news_article2402.html">US has four months to approve F-16 sale to Taiwan</a>.
earthtimes.org wrote:Taiwan official in US to seek purchase of 66 F-16 jets
DPA - Fri, 13 Jul 2007 02:42:21 GMT
Taipei - A ranking Taiwan military official is visiting the United States to seek the purchase of 66 F16C/D fighter jets, which the US agreed to sell to Taiwan in 2006 but is now dragging its feet, a newspaper said on Friday. The China Times quoted an unnamed military source as confirming that Huo Shou-yeh, chief of the general staff, has led a delegation to the US this week and is now in Washington DC to meet with US military officials.
Huo may run into US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates "by accident" and he would tell Gates that Taiwan has an urgent need to buy the F16C/Ds, the source said.
Taiwan does not have diplomatic ties with the US, therefore ranking US officials are not allowed to have formal meetings with Taiwan officials.
The purpose of Huo's secret visit is to seek the purchase of 66 F16C/D which the US agreed to sell to Taiwan in 2006, but is now delaying finalizing the deal, the daily said.
Taiwan needs to buy the F16C/Ds to boost its air defence against China which sees Taiwan as its breakaway province and has vowed to recover Taiwan by force if necessary.
The paper said that officials are confused as to why the US is delaying the F16C/D sale after it has told Taipei in private that it would sell the jets.
The US asked Taiwan to pass two budgets for the F16C/Ds before it could approve the selling the F16C/D, the China Times said.
Taiwan has passed both budgets, but still the US has not approved the F16C/D sale.
The paper warned that if the F16C/D sale is nixed, it may indicate the end of the "arms sales honeymoon" between the US and Taiwan.
The US, a long-time anti-Communist ally of Taiwan, switched recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979 but enacted the Taiwan Relations Act, pledging to continue to sell defensive arms to Taiwan.
If the US approves the sale of 66 F16C/Ds, it will be its largest arms sale to Taiwan since former president George H W Bush approved the sale of 150 F16A/Bs to Taiwan in 1992.
The F16C/D is an improved version of the F16A/B.
The Taiwan Air Force's fleet currently is made up of about 150 F16A/B, 60 Mirage 2000-5s and 130 self-developed IDFs (Indigenous Defence Fighter) as several of the F-16 and Mirage jets, which were imported from France in the 1990s, have crashed during while on training missions.