Amid announcements of defense cuts by US President Barack Obama’s administration and workforce reductions at Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the F-16 aircraft, the US government should take a fresh look at the impact of selling the fighter aircraft long sought by Taiwan, the US-Taiwan Business Council said on Wednesday.
Following news that the US defense budget could be cut by US$1.4 trillion over 12 years, Lockheed Martin on Sunday announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs across the country ahead of expected flattening demand from the US defense establishment.
In a press communique on Wednesday, the US-Taiwan Business Council called on Washington to consider the positive impact of selling the 66 F-16C/D aircraft requested by Taiwan since 2006.
News of the layoffs at Lockheed Martin, it wrote, “highlights the need for the US government to reassess its position on the sale and to consider the positive economic impact of releasing F-16s to Taiwan.”
“The US-Taiwan Business Council joins Senator John Cornyn of Texas in calling on the Obama Administration to ‘end its blockade of Taiwan’s request to purchase new F-16s,’” it said.
Cornyn late last month said he would block a full review by the Senate for the appointment of William Burns as US deputy secretary of state until Washington agrees to the F-16 sale and ensures the release of a long-delayed Pentagon report to Congress on the airpower balance in the Taiwan Strait.
“The recent Perryman Report shows that the follow-on sale of F-16s to Taiwan would have a positive economic impact around the country, generating about US$8.7 billion in gross output and sustaining approximately 16,000 direct and indirect jobs over the life of the program,” US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers said in the press release, referring to the report released by the Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic and financial analysis firm, on June 22.
Allowing the sale of the F-16s to proceed would have a “significant economic boost” to states such as Ohio and Florida, where unemployment is at 8.6 percent and 10.6 percent respectively, Hammond-Chambers said.
“Reports estimate that 1,800 workers in Ohio and 1,900 in Florida depend on an F-16 sale to Taiwan. Should the Taiwan sale fail to materialize, however, current orders would only sustain the F-16 production line for another two years,” he says.
Based on current orders, the F-16 plant is expected to close at the end of 2013.
“There is already a strong strategic case in favor of releasing F-16s to Taiwan,” Hammond-Chambers is quoted as saying. “US economic security would also be well served by the sale, given the reported positive impact on the employment picture in numerous communities around America.”
However, the Obama administration has not moved forward on the sale because of concerns over China’s sensitivities, he said.
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for
Recent movements by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been “highly unusual,” but the military maintains a grasp of the situation, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said on Friday, after the military for the first time said it was monitoring troop movements in China’s Dacheng Bay (大埕灣). The minister gave the remarks to reporters before appearing at the legislature on the first day of its new session. The Ministry of National Defense on Thursday evening released an air force surveillance photograph of a PLA Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, and said it was monitoring the PLA Rocket Force and ground