Taipei, Aug. 21 (CNA) Taiwan has expressed its appreciation to the Trump administration for formally notifying the United States Congress of the possible sale of advanced F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan and said it expected the deal to take effect in one month.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on its website Tuesday that it has notified Congress of the possible sale of 66 F-16C/D Block 70 fighter jets, known as the F-16V, after Taiwan's request for the planes was approved by the U.S. State Department.
According to the DSCA, the US$8 billion package also involves 75 F110 General Electric engines for the single-engine fighter, the same quantity of Link-16 Systems and other related equipment.
Taiwan's Ministry of Defense (MND) said in a statement that the deal could be completed in about a month after details are ironed out and a special budget is approved by the Legislative Yuan for the maximum US$8 billion price tag.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed its appreciation for the arms deal amid China's increasing military drills around Taiwan and its provocations in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, according to MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安).
"The Trump administration's approval of the sale of 66 F-16Vs (BLK 70s) and its formal notification to the Congress are manifestations of a close and friendly Taiwan-U.S. security partnership," Ou said.
The deal is considered vital to Taiwan's freedom and democracy and will be beneficial in strengthening Taiwan's air defense capability and its resolve in pursuing peace and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait, Ou said.
The ministry also reiterated in a statement that the deal is a concrete example of fulfilling the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) 40 years after it came into being.
The TRA was signed by then-President Jimmy Carter in April 1979, after the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, to serve as a legal basis for Washington to maintain commercial, cultural and other relations with Taipei.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) also thanked the Trump administration for helping Taiwan to strengthen its defense capability and preserve the freedom and welfare of Taiwan's people.
The F-16V is a new version of the F-16 A/B, one of the mainstays of Taiwan's fighter jet fleet over the past two decades.
Taiwan's Air Force said on its Facebook page on Saturday that the F-16V has greater thrust, a longer range, a more streamlined frame and more advanced detection and attack systems than previous models of the aircraft.