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Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou urged the U.S. to release F-16 fighters and submarines during a speech May 12 at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

New arms will allow Taipei to negotiate with Beijing on “equal footing,” he said. “This is why I continue to urge the U.S. to provide Taiwan with necessary weaponry … to keep its aerial and naval integrity intact, which is key to maintaining a credible defense.”

In 2001, the Bush administration promised Taiwan eight diesel electric submarines, but the deal has been held up by a combination of political and manufacturing hurdles. Taiwan’s request for 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters for $5.5 billion and a $4.5 billion upgrade package for 146 F-16A/B Block 20 fighters has been on hold since 2007 and 2009, respectively.

Source: Wendell Minnick for Defense News.

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