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Taiwan thanks US for selling F-16 fighter jet parts

Taiwan on Thursday thanked the United States for approving the sale of equipment and parts for F-16 fighter jets, saying it would help the island defend itself against China.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, and launched exercises around the self-governing island last month, days after the inauguration of new President Lai Ching-te.

Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te is seen against the backdrop of a Taiwan Air Force F-16 as he speaks to military personnel at Hualien Air Base on May 28, 2024.  Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP
Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te is seen against the backdrop of a Taiwan Air Force F-16 as he speaks to military personnel at Hualien Air Base on May 28, 2024. Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP

The United States, a close partner of Taipei, on Wednesday approved two military sales to Taiwan worth a total of about $300 million, mainly of spare and repair parts for the island’s F-16 fighter jets.

The sales approvals were announced in two statements from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, established to provide assistance to the United States’ allies and partners.

The United States transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but has remained Taiwan’s main partner and largest arms supplier, drawing repeated condemnations from China.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense expressed gratitude on Thursday for approving the arms sale, which is expected to take effect in a month.

It said the sale would help Taiwan “meet the needs of defense operations,” adding: “Military intimidation will not contribute to regional peace and we call on the Chinese Communist Party to stop all kinds of irrational behavior against Taiwan .”

The State Department also welcomed the sale, saying in a post on .”

See also: Foreign policy heavyweights on Taiwan’s uncertain future

China has said it will never refrain from using force to bring Taiwan under its control, and it maintains a near-daily military presence around the island – sending fighter jets, drones and naval vessels.

China launched large-scale military exercises around Taiwan last month, just three days after Lai’s inauguration, vowing to defend the island’s sovereignty and democracy.

China said the speech was akin to a “confession of Taiwan’s independence,” and described its war games as “punishment.”

Dateline:

Taipei, Taiwan

Type of story: News service

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