By Jeremy Herb - 08/13/12 03:14 PM EDT
Congress has been critical of the Obama administration’s unwillingness to sell Taiwan the new planes, however, and the House included the 66 F-16 fighters in its 2013 defense authorization bill that passed in May.
In April, the Obama administration said it was considering a change in policy toward selling the F-16C/Ds to Taiwan, leading Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to release a hold on a Pentagon nomination that he’d placed due to the F-16s.
Administration officials also acknowledged in a report that Taiwan’s fleet is inadequate to counter China in the Taiwan Strait.
The Taiwanese papers said the reduced F-16 request was due to budgetary constraints, but the Liberty Times also quoted a source suggesting that the reduction could also have been made so Taiwan could later purchase F-35 fighters instead.