US approves sale of F-16 parts to Taiwan for $80 million

By Thomson Reuters Jun 5, 2024 | 10:56 PM

(Reuters) – The U.S. State Department has approved the sale to Taiwan of F-16 fighter jet spare and repair parts for an estimated $80 million, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Wednesday.

The sale will help “improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement.

Taiwan’s defense ministry thanked the United States and said the sale would boost the combat and defense needs of its air force. The ministry said the sale would be finalized in July.

“With normalized gray-zone harassments, the Chinese Communist Party attempted to squeeze our naval and air training space and response time, as well as limiting our rights of self-defense,” it said in a statement.

China has repeatedly demanded the United States, Taiwan’s most important arms supplier, halt the sale of weapons to the island, which Beijing claims as its own territory over Taipei’s strong objection.

China’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Talking to reporters in parliament on Thursday, Taiwan Defence Minister Wellington Koo said Taiwan must boost its self defense capabilities to be a part of “effective deterrence” in the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy.

“But for Taiwan-U.S. military cooperation, there are many things we can only do, not tell,” he said.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb, Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Caitlin Webber and Gerry Doyle)