Obama administration considering sale of F-16C/Ds to Taiwan: congressman

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Obama Administration is considering whether to approve the sale of advanced F-16C/D fighter jets to Taiwan in a move to beef up its self-defence capability, a US congressman said Thursday in Washington.

Steve Chabot, chair of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the US House of Representatives, reportedly said Thursday that Washington is mulling whether to sell F-16C/Ds to Taipei and that Congress will very likely approve the sale, local media said yesterday.

Chabot made the comments at a committee Thursday during which its members unanimously passed the Taiwan Policy Act (TPA).

When asked by Taiwanese reporters to give more details on the possible arms deal, Chabot, however, refused to do so, saying that he has told media everything he knew, local media said.

Meanwhile, back in Taipei, asked to comment on the US congressman's remark, military spokesman Luo Shou-he said yesterday that the Defence Ministry has not received any official announcement from Washington on the possible F-16C/D sale.

But he stressed that the military will continue to make all necessary evaluations on what kind of weapons systems are needed to strengthen the nation's self-defence capabilities.

In September 2011 the US approved the sale of a retrofit and training package for Taiwan's existing F-16A/B fighters but not the sale of new F-16C/Ds

The TPA was first introduced on Jan. 25 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and aimed to strengthen the relationship between Taiwan and the United States by introducing a number of new measures.

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