Ministry denies report of proposed purchase of only 24 F-16C/Ds
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense denied Monday local media reports that Taiwan has recently made a proposal to the United States for a procurement of 24 F-16C/D jet fighters.
"There has absolutely been no such proposal," ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he told CNA.
Earlier in the day, local newspapers reported that Taiwanese high-level officials proposed a purchase of only 24 F-16C/Ds during this year's Monterey Talks held in the U.S. in early August.
The annual talks are held between senior Taiwan and U.S. officials and provide both sides with a platform for discussions on military issues.
Citing unnamed sources, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reported that during the talks, Taiwanese officials expressed an intention to procure the F-16C/Ds to address Taiwan's shortage of combat aircraft.
Taiwan had hoped to obtain 66 F-16C/Ds, but it is now more likely to purchase only 24 such fighters due to a limited defense budget, another Chinese-language newspaper China Times reported, quoting anonymous sources.
Taiwan is now preparing to undergo a retrofit program to upgrade its 145 F-16A/B fighters, at a cost of roughly US$3.8 billion.
The retrofit was approved by the U.S. government last September.
(By Elaine Hou)
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