FAST FIVE: Trump Approves $8BN Sale Of F-16 Jets To Taiwan; Congress Urged To "Move Quickly"
Last month China's military predictably slammed Washington's recent approval to send $2.2 billion in arms to Taiwan, and now there's an administration push supported by Republicans in the Senate to “move quickly” on a proposed $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan at a moment when the next round of US-China trade negotiations hangs in the balance, as The Washington Post reports: The Trump administration is moving ahead with for an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan despite strong objections from China, a US official and others familiar with the deal said Thursday.
Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on Friday urged Congress to move quickly with the sale given China “seeks to extend its authoritarian reach” over the region.
Image source: Stars and Stripes This despite Beijing condemning any and all further weapons sales to Taiwan, which it maintains historic claims over, and taking the further significant step of threatening sanction on any US companies involved in such weapons deals. The New York Times on Friday also confirmed the proposed F-16 plan, based on State Department statements: The State Department told Congress Thursday night, right after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had signed a memo approving the sale, officials said. Congress is not expected to object to the move.
For weeks, lawmakers from both parties had accused the administration of delaying the sale to avoid jeopardizing trade negotiations or to use it as a bargaining chip.
This also corresponds to Taiwan on Thursday unveiling its largest defense spending increase in over a decade, to T$411.3 billion ($13.11 billion.), according to Reuters.