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Taiwanese legislators head for U.S. to push for F-16 C/D sale

2011/07/06 13:25:09

Taipei, July 6 (CNA) A group of legislators across party lines will leave for the United States Wednesday evening to lobby Washington to approve Taiwan's request to acquire F-16 C/D fighter jets and include Taiwan in its visa waiver program.

The delegation is comprised of members of the Taiwan-USA Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association, led by Kuomintang Legislator Lii Ming-shing. They will stop in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Washington D.C. and New York during the 11-day trip.

While in the U.S. capital, the lawmakers are expected to call on the State Department, the Pentagon, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

According to Lii, the delegation will visit ethnic Chinese U.S. representatives David Wu and Judy Mary Chu in the hope that they will help push the U.S. government to sell the fighters to Taiwan and encourage progress on the visa waiver front.

The group will also visit Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, which is currently the only active duty F-16 training base in the world, Lii said.

Liao Wan-ju, another KMT legislator, said the primary goal of the trip was to help bring about the F-16 C/D aircraft sale.

If the U.S. has problems in authorizing the sale, then Taipei hopes Washington will approve an upgrade for Taiwan's existing F-16 A/B fleet to enhance the combat capabilities of its Air Force, Liao said.

The delegation will return to Taiwan on July 18.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Y.F. Low)