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Taiwan 'concerned' over Chinese President's US visit


Taiwan has urged the US to sell the F-16 C/D fighter jets to it despite pressure from China.

TAIPEI (AFP): Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday he was "concerned" about Chinese leader Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to the United States, urging the US to sell the island advanced fighters it has long sought.

Ma made the comment in a meeting with Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank, Ma's office said in a statement.

"Taiwan is very concerned about Chinese leader Hu Jintao's visit to the United States, and we hope that the United States will sell us F-16 C/Ds," Ma was quoted as saying in the statement.

Hu will visit the United States this week in his first state visit to the country.

Taipei applied to the US government to buy 66 F-16 C/D fighters in early 2007, but observers say Washington has held up the deal for fear of angering Beijing.

China opposes any arms sales to Taiwan, which it considers a part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war and have since been governed separately.

Taiwan maintains that it still needs to maintain sufficient self-defence despite improving ties in recent years.

Ma added that the fighters would replace outdated equipment and help the island defend itself, according to the statement.

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F-16  Fighter  Taiwan  Defence  

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