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Sen. Robert Menendez and others, “Letter Calling for the Sale of f-16s to Taiwan,” May 26, 2011

Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and James Inhofe (R-OK) and forty-three other senators wrote to Pres. Barack Obama to encourage his administration to authorize the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.
May 26, 2011

May 26, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express serious concern about the military imbalance in the Taiwan Strait. To
maintain peace and stability in the Strait, it is critical that your administration accept Taiwan's
Letter of Request (LOR) and move quickly to notify Congress of the sale of 66 F -16 C/D aircraft
that Taiwan needs in order to modernize its air force.

Successive reports issued by U.S. and Taiwanese defense authorities clearly outline the direct
tlueat faced by Taiwan as a result of China's unprecedented military buildup. Beijing presently
has more than l ,400 missiles aimed at Taiwan, and China is in the process of deploying next
generation Chinese and Russian manufactured ships, fighter aircraft, and submarines. Military
experts in both Taiwan and the United States have raised concerns that Taiwan is losing the
qualitative advantage in defensive arms that has long served as its primary military deterrent
against China.

Taiwan desperately needs new tactical fighter aircraft. Within the next decade Taiwan will retire
70% of its fighter force structure. Its F-5s have reached the end oftheir utility, its Mirage
fighters lack parts and life-cycle support, and its Indigenous Defense Fighters are being
converted to a trainer role. Additionally, Taiwan's existing 145 F-16 NB fighters all require a
mid-life upgrade. With F-16s already in its inventory, Taiwan is seeking to combine its fighter
fleet around a single airframe with the commensurate cost and operational benefits.

We are deeply concerned that further delay of the decision to sell F-16s to Taiwan could result in
closure of the F-16 production line, and urge you to expedite this defense export process before
the line closes. Without new fighter aircraft and upgrades to its existing fleet ofF -16s, Taiwan
will be dangerously exposed to Chinese military threats, aggression and provocation, which pose
significant national security implications for the United States.

The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of 1979 directs both the Congress and the President to make
decisions on arms sales to Taiwan based solely on the "judgment of the needs ofTaiwan," and
we believe that Taiwanese pilots, flying Taiwanese fighter aircraft manufactured in the United
States, represent the best first line of defense for our democratic ally, while presenting no
offensive threat to China.

We urge you to act swiftly and provide Taiwan with the F-16 C/D aircraft that are critical to
meeting our obligations pursuant to the TRA and to preserving peace and security in the Taiwan

45 senators

Click here to see the original letter.