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Monday
Sep192011

Obama Administration to Inform Congress About Taiwan F-16 Deal This Week

Erik Simonsen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration plans to inform Congress later this week about whether or not the United States will sell new F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan or upgrade its existing fleet, a senior U.S. official said Monday.
 
The administration provided an advance briefing on Capitol Hill on Friday, which soon leaked stories that the U.S. will upgrade the existing fleet and decline to sell Taiwan new planes.
 
The official would not confirm those reports, and would not speak for attribution since Congress has not yet been formally notified of the decision.
 
“Our view is that something has gotten lost in translation over the last couple of days on this issue. First, the U.S. is profoundly committed to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and that commitment remains unwavering. Second, the scale and pace of def article sales to Taiwan over the past two and a half years is unprecedented,” the official said, noting that arms sales to Taiwan under the Obama administration will be double what they were under President George W. Bush’s second term.
 
While not confirming the leaked reports, the official said upgrading the existing fleet will provide the same quality plane as newer models, but at a cheaper price and would allow for 145 upgrade planes instead of only 66 new ones.
 
The sale of fighter jets to Taiwan has been controversial on a number of fronts. China remains opposed to any arms sales to Taiwan and Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, had pushed for the new planes because they were being built in his state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio