Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MND denies claims new F-16 bid failed

More confusion over attempts by Taiwan to purchase advanced fighter aircraft from the US

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday denied reports that Taiwan’s latest bid to purchase new F-16 aircraft was turned down by the US Department of State on Friday.

In an article on Monday, Defense News reported that the State Department had turned down a request by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington to submit a new official letter of request (LOR) to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) for the 66 F-16C/Ds, which Taiwan has sought to purchase for years.

The article said the State Department had blocked the request on behalf of the US National Security Council.

A US source independently confirmed to the Taipei Times yesterday that the request was turned down.

This would be the fourth failed attempt to submit an LOR for the F-16s and the first by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration. The first three bids were made between June 2006 and February 2007 under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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