TAIPEI – Bowing to Chinese pressure, the U.S. will deny Taiwan’s request for 66 new F-16C/D fighter aircraft, a Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said.
“We are so disappointed in the United States,” he said.
A U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) delegation arrived here last week to deliver the news and offer instead a retrofit package for older F-16A/Bs that includes an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
This hasn’t been confirmed by US government sources yet — the State Department insists that no decision has been made — but it does jibe with what observers in Washington had been expecting based on administration statements. If this is indeed the Obama administration’s decision, it’s a missed opportunity that will make Taiwan policy more difficult for future administrations. I’ve linked to this before, but CSIS analyst Matt Anderson’s argument for allowing the F-16 sale now is a good place to catch up if you’re new to this issue.