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Image: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway for DoD.

A U.S. decision not to sell Taiwan new F-16 fighter jets is being seen by many U.S. allies in Asia as a sign of China’s growing clout.

The pre-eminent military power in East Asia for a half-century, the U.S. has explicitly and implicitly provided a security umbrella for countries from Singapore to Japan, helping to keep the peace that has fostered stunning economic growth.

While few of these allies believe the U.S. is lessening its commitment to the region, they still see Washington’s refusal to make the F-16 sale — confirmed to The Associated Press by two congressional aides privy to an administration briefing on the issue — as showing a new deference to Chinese interests.

China is a “big factor … that can’t be discounted,” Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told the AP. “All things are always considered in a decision and China is a world player now.”

Source: The Associated Press via CBS.

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Image: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway for DoD. A U.S. decision not to sell Taiwan new…