A US senator on Tuesday said that if US President Barack Obama’s administration refuses to sell Taiwan the 66 F-16C/D aircraft it is requesting, he would push to have Congress approve the sale instead.
Republican Senator John Cornyn, who made the remarks after visiting Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth aircraft assembly plant in his home state of Texas, said Taiwan needed the aircraft to deter China.
“Congress has traditionally delegated this authority to the president, but it can pass legislation allowing this sale to take place,” Cornyn told the Star-Telegram.
“There’s significant support in Congress for providing our allies [Taiwan] with these planes, and I believe, under the Taiwan Relations Act, we’re obligated to do so,” he was quoted as saying.
Cornyn said an amendment to the defense authorization bill to approve Taiwan’s request could be introduced in October or November.
The amendment would require approval by Congress and Obama could still exercise his veto powers to prevent the sale, but this would mean scuttling approval of a wide variety of defense programs, he said.
Forty-five senators and 181 members of the US House of Representatives have signed letters urging Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to release the aircraft.
Earlier this year, Cornyn held up the confirmation of William Burns as US deputy secretary of state, resulting in a compromise by Clinton, who said the US would announce its final decision on Oct. 1.
Beijing has characterized the sale of F-16C/Ds to Taiwan as a “red line” and threatened retaliation, including severing military-to-military ties, if the US allowed it to go through.
So far the US has not officially accepted Taiwan’s request for the F-16C/Ds, with reports saying that the US Department of State had instructed Taiwan’s representative office in Washington not to submit a “Letter of Request.”
Although the Pentagon and the Ministry of National Defense maintain that the deal is not dead, recent reports claim Washington is likely only to approve an upgrade program for Taiwan’s aging F-16A/B fleet.
Washington’s refusal to release the more advanced F-16C/Ds would be a mistake, Cornyn said, and would “demonstrate we’ll give our allies the back of our hand” to pacify “our adversaries,” the newspaper wrote, adding that a well-armed Taiwan would take off some of the pressure on US forces involved in operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly