The United Stated State Department has approved the sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan, in a move expected to anger Beijing.
Taiwan will get the latest version of the Lockheed Martin-built fighter, the F-16C/D Block 70, in the 8 billion dollar deal, the State Department announced on Tuesday.
Before the announcement, US President Donald Trump declared that “somebody had to take China on”.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch, a Republican, welcomed the sale, saying “these fighters are critical to improving Taiwan’s ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People’s Republic of China”.
Taiwan’s plan to upgrade its air defences comes amid increasing Chinese military incursions into its airspace.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a part of China awaiting reunification, but the island is self-ruled and is a close ally of the US.