Agence France-Presse (AFP) confirmed that the United States closed a 10-year, $92 billion deal with Taiwan for the sale of 90 F-16 fighters equipped with the latest radar and weapons technology, reported Military.com.
Due to the sensitivity of the trade agreement the Pentagon confirmed the transaction officially without disclosing the buyer, but a source familiar with the deal confirmed to the AFP that it is Taiwan.
The United States agreed to sell 60 aircraft to Taiwan last year, but the Trump administration ultimately did not close the deal.
When diplomatic relations with Beijing are going through a rough patch because Trump has blamed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the global pandemic, not only was the deal closed, but instead of 60 fighters the number increased to 90.
Despite the fact that Taiwan does not enjoy the status of being an independent country because the CCP considers it part of its territory and has long pushed nations worldwide to recognize this, the United States has always been an ally of the island and as the CCP has become more aggressive in the region, with its recent and constant military drills in the South China Sea and the introduction of the new national security law in Hong Kong, the United States has shown itself to be closer to Taiwan.
On Aug. 10, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan to meet with the island’s president, in what was the highest-level official visit of the U.S. government, according to AFP.
The CCP has rejected U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, saying it severely violate the “One China” principle.
The purchase of the 90 F-16 fighters to be manufactured by Lockheed Martin for Taiwan will significantly modernize the fleet of F-16s that Taiwan bought from the United States in 1992.