The Ministry of National Defense has not received any message from Washington that it would not sell Taiwan F-16C/D aircraft, ministry spokesman David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday, adding that Taipei would continue to ask the US to expedite the sale.
In an article posted on its Web site on Sunday evening, Defense News magazine’s Asia bureau chief Wendell Minnick wrote that the US government had sent a delegation to Taiwan last week to deliver the news that Washington would not proceed with the sale of the 66 F-16C/D aircraft requested by Taipei, but would upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of F-16A/Bs.
The upgrades proposed included Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, as well as AIM-9X air-to-air missiles and enhanced GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs.
In an article on the same subject yesterday, the Taipei Times reported that only one air wing of Taiwan’s F-16A/Bs would be upgraded rather than all 146 aircraft, as initially requested.
Lo said the ministry had not received any information on the matter and was unable to comment on the article.
He said Taiwan’s stance on acquiring F-16C/D aircraft had not changed and that Taipei would utilize any and all channels to urge the US government to proceed with the sale in the face of the imbalance of power in the Taiwan Strait.
The US should sell Taiwan the F-16C/Ds as soon as possible to replace its aging F-5 combat aircraft and improve its air combat capabilities, Lo said, adding that it would ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Commenting on the subject, American Institute in Taiwan spokesperson Chirstopher Kavanagh told the Central News Agency that “no decision has been made,” adding that he was not in a position to confirm that the US had sent anyone to Taiwan concerning the sale last week, as Defense News reported.
There are frequent visits from the US, Kavanagh said.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER