China has taken a lot of flak for its failed handling of the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic — and the hits just keep coming.
According to the Daily Caller, President Donald Trump’s administration has signed off on a $62 billion deal allowing Taiwan — an autonomous former Chinese province that China’s communist regime still claims as its own — to purchase upwards of 90 new F-16 fighter jets from the U.S.
The move comes on the heels of increasingly sharp criticism of China from President Trump, who has blasted the communist nation not just for its deception with regard to COVID-19, but also over its crackdown on Hong Kong and its mistreatment of the nation’s Muslim Uighur population, as the Daily Caller notes.
According to the Daily Caller, the sale of jets to Taiwan was actually first approved in 2019. At that time, a deal was made allowing Taiwan to purchase 66 of the new-and-improved F-16s, a move that resulted in fierce backlash from China.
That backlash prompted the Trump administration to hold off on finalizing the deal — that is, until now.
According to the Daily Caller, a France-based news outlet first reported that the new deal spans for 10 years and is worth more than $60 billion. The Pentagon declined to name the buyer when the deal was announced, but a source confirmed to the French outlet that it was indeed Taiwan.
The last time the U.S. sold fighter jets to Taiwan was in 1992. Now, the democratic nation is set to receive fresh planes with the latest and greatest radar and weaponry systems — exactly what it needs to take on a potential threat from China.
As the Daily Caller noted, the Asia Times reports that the F-16s are manufactured by U.S.-based Lockheed Martin in conjunction with the U.S.-based Northrop Grumman Corp., which produces the state-of-the-art radar and weapons control systems that are outfitted on the top-line fighter jets.
Trump digs in
This move will undoubtedly cause quite a bit of consternation among officials in Beijing, who continue to insist that Taiwan — which broke away from China and declared itself autonomous in 1949 — is still a part of China’s sovereign territory.
Historically, the U.S. has always danced carefully around the issue, supplying the democratic island of Taiwan with commercial and military support while refraining from formally recognizing it as independent.
But those days may well be over now. Trump has made it clear for some time that he is no longer inclined to play games with China, as evidenced by his tariffs and trade war with the communist regime, and now, his increased support for Taiwan.
It will be interesting to see how Beijing reacts to the news of this deal, but one thing is for certain: when it comes to China, President Trump won’t be backing down.