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Congress urges U.S. president to address Taiwan's F-16 shortfall

ROC Central News Agency

2012/12/20 20:17:11

Washington, Dec. 19 (CNA) The U.S. Congress has been pushing President Barack Obama's administration again to help address Taiwan's shortfall in fighter aircraft.

The call was included in a Congress conference report on the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2013, which was completed Wednesday, authorizing funding for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.

The report contained five clauses on Congress' stance on the sale of aircraft to Taiwan. It said that based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the United States should continue to make available to Taiwan such defense articles and services, in such quantities, as might be necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.

Notwithstanding the upgrade of Taiwan's F-16 A/B aircraft, the report said, Taiwan will experience a growing shortfall in fighter aircraft, particularly as its F-5 aircraft are retired from service.

'The President should take steps to address Taiwan's shortfall in fighter aircraft, whether through the sale of F-16 C/D aircraft or other aircraft of similar capability, as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,' the report said.

The conference report will become a formal defense authorization act after screening and approval by the House of Representatives and the Senate in the near future.

Although the 'sense of Congress' resolution in the report is not legally binding, it symbolizes the importance the U.S. Congress attaches to Taiwan's security and self-defense capability, analysts said.

The TRA is the U.S. law that codifies the basis for commercial, cultural and other relations between Taiwan and the United States in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

(By Tony Liao and Sofia Wu)
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