Fri, Dec 02, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Perry says Taiwan would be his first visit as US leader

By Jake Chung  /  Staff Reporter

In a speech at a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Republican US presidential hopeful Rick Perry said he would make Taiwan his first international stop if he were elected US president next year, and specifically named Taiwan as an “ally in the region,” the ThinkProgress Security Web site reported.

Perry’s remarks came amid various claims from other Republican presidential hopefuls making attacks on the foreign policies of US President Barack Obama’s administration.

Taiwan has asked to purchase F-16C/D aircraft to modernize its aging fleet of fighters, but the Obama administration has said “no, we’re going to give you the old equipment, we’re not going to give you the newest equipment,” Perry said, adding that even though the offers “are [US] dollars that would be going to American manufacturers ... in Fort Worth, where the F-16s are built,” the Obama administration refused to sell the F-16s to both Taiwan and India.

Taipei has for years asked Washington for 66 F-16C/Ds, but despite pressure from both the US Congress and persistent lobbying by Taiwan, the Obama administration officially declined to release them in late September, offering instead to upgrade Taiwan’s current fleet of 145 F-16A/Bs.

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