Speaking in front of AFP and AP reporters, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says on Wednesday, Sep 7 that the pending sale of 66 F-16 aircrafts from the United States to Taiwan may sever the peaceful development of Sino-US and cross-Strait relations.
The request to purchase the new F-16 has been ongoing since 2006 and is in line with the role of the United States being Taiwan's largest arm supplier and ally. As an ally, the United States is duty-bound to help Taiwan defend its territory. In 2009, Taiwan made a request to upgrade its very old F-16 A/B models, and earlier in 1992, then U.S. president George Bush granted the sale of F-16s, which are Taiwan's first possession of the said aircraft, said the Reuters report.
In a brewing debate in the U.S. Senate, Texan Republican Senator John Cornyn insisted that the project will maintain valuable jobs in the country.
Meanwhile, it is said in a Reuters report that the project, which is estimated to value at more than US$8 billion is handled by Lockheed Martin Corporation in Texas, and is intended to replace Taiwan's aging F-5 fighters.
Martin's CEO Robert J. Stevens clarified to Reuters reporters that should the sale push through, Taiwan will only maintain its air power capabilities, and not enhance them. Taiwan said in separate news that its move will counter China's increasing military strength.
Spokeswoman Jiang Yu reminds during an interview with reporters that the US has expressed its diplomatic recognition of "One China" policy since 1979 and according to that policy, Taiwan is part of it.
"We urge the United States to fully grasp the harmfulness and sensitivity of selling weapons to Taiwan," the Chinese spokeswoman told Reuters reporters.
On Oct 1, U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to issue a statement on his administration's decision concerning the plan to aid Taiwan's air force.
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