The Taiwanese legislature approved a $ 8.2 billion budget to purchase 66 US F-16V multirole fighters over the next seven years.
Taiwan will set up a special spending fund to buy 66 F-16V fighters from the US, using the money from public debt or budget surplus each year. "We set a ceiling of $ 8.2 billion to buy fighters, the contract will not exceed that limit," Senator Wang Ting-yu of the ruling Progressive Democratic Party said after the vote in Taiwan's legislature yesterday.
F-16V fighters were upgraded to Taiwan by the US earlier this year. Image: Airliners.
The contract was announced by the White House to Congress in August, after Taipei asked Washington to sell F-16V fighters to improve its defenses. This is the largest arms contract between the United States and Taiwan in many years, and it was the first time Taiwan purchased American modern fighters since 1992.
China has not commented on the decision of the Taiwan legislature.
Beijing in August announced it would respond strongly if Washington did not stop its F-16 contract with Taipei. China sees Taiwan as part of its territory waiting for reunification and often backlash against the United States selling weapons to the island.
Taiwan's Defense Forces are using 144 F-16A / B Block 20 fighters purchased from the US, 55 Mirage 2000s purchased from France and 129 Ching-kuo domestic fighters, all of which have been in service since the decade. 1990. The island government is also implementing a $ 5 billion project to upgrade the F-16A / B fleet to the world's most modern F-16V standard with support from the United States.
Since the contract to sell 150 F-16s, former President George H.W. Bush approved in 1992 that the United States would no longer sell modern fighters to Taiwan to avoid tensions with China. Former President Barack Obama's government canceled a contract to sell 66 F-16C / D Block 50s to Taipei in 2011 due to pressure from Beijing.
Vu Anh (Follow SCMP)