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Signal to China: US equips Taiwan with 66 F-16 fighters

In trade war, the United States and China face irreconcilable Donald Trump intervened in the Hong Kong crisis – and this agreement should contribute little to a relaxation between Washington and Beijing: the US government has the green light for the sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets given to Taiwan.

As announced by the US State Department on Tuesday, President Trump supported the arms sector for a value of eight billion dollars (7.2 billion euros). In addition to the jets, 75 engines and other systems are also delivered, he said Tuesday in a statement to Congress.

The supply of weapons will anger China: after all, Beijing sees a renegade province in Taiwan, which will one day be reunited with the mainland – if necessary, by military force. Since another weaponry with modern US devices is just located.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry criticized US arms exports to Taiwan as a "serious violation" of the Beijing-Washington agreements and "serious interference in China's internal affairs". If the United States does not break the planned arms deal with Taiwan, Washington must "bear all the consequences".

The armed forces are "interoperable" with the United States

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that the delivery of fighter planes was in line with the US-China agreements and "historical relations".

The United States Department of Defense, which oversees US arms exports to foreign countries, said the arms trade will not change the "basic military budget" in the region. The F-16 fighter plane would allow Taiwan to protect its airspace, contribute to regional security and be "interoperable" with the United States.

The fighter planes to be delivered to Taiwan are the latest model of the F-16 defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The island nation already has an F-16 fleet, which was purchased in 1992 and has since been modernized several times.

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