Members of Taiwan’s 564th Armored Brigade hold a flag after demonstrating their ability to repel an airborne attack near Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in January 2023.

Members of Taiwan’s 564th Armored Brigade hold a flag after demonstrating their ability to repel an airborne attack near Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in January 2023. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

The State Department has approved an $80 million sale of parts for F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Wednesday.

The agency notified Congress of the possible sale on the same day, the agency said in a news release.

The purchase request had been made by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, according to the release. Taiwan, which lies about 100 miles southeast of China’s mainland, has faced an increasingly assertive Beijing in recent years.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hailed the approval Wednesday in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Our dedication to maintaining peace & stability persists amid #China’s escalating aggression,” the post read in part.

The sale would include “non-standard spare and repair parts, components, consumables, and accessories for F-16 aircraft,” according to the news release.

It would also include engineering, technical and logistics support services by U.S. government personnel and contractors.

The equipment would be transferred from stock maintained by the U.S. Air Force and have no adverse effect on American military readiness, according to the release.

The sale would improve Taiwan’s “ability to meet current and future threats by maintaining the operational readiness of the recipient’s fleet of F-16 aircraft,” the release states.

“Taiwan’s F-16 fleet is a cornerstone capability in the Taiwan military’s force posture, ensuring that [Chinese army] grey zone harassment is properly challenged in peacetime and that a modern air force could be fielded during war,” the US-Taiwan Business Council said in a statement Wednesday.

China regards the democratically governed island as a renegade province that must, at some point, accede to Beijing’s control.

During the past few years, China’s military has increasingly encroached on Taiwan’s airspace.

Late last month, China conducted two days of military exercises around Taiwan that included simulated bomber attacks and ship-boardings.

The U.S. Navy routinely sends warships through the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate America’s commitment to freedom of navigation in the region and as a show of support for Taiwan.

Early last month, the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey transited the channel.

“As the recent military exercises conducted by the [Chinese army] demonstrate, Taiwan needs platforms and systems that can deal with blockade and grey zone threats,” the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council statement said.

“When Taiwan’s new tranche of F-16s is fully delivered by the end of 2026, Taiwan will have the largest fleet of F-16s in the region,” the statement said.

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Wyatt Olson is based in the Honolulu bureau, where he has reported on military and security issues in the Indo-Pacific since 2014. He was Stars and Stripes’ roving Pacific reporter from 2011-2013 while based in Tokyo. He was a freelance writer and journalism teacher in China from 2006-2009.

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