U.S. rejected Taiwan`s requests for F-16 C/D three times

Taipei (ANTARA News/CNA) - The United States has thrice rejected Taiwan`s letters of request for procurement and acquisition of advanced F-16 C/D jet fighters to replace its aging fleet, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Friday in a press statement.

The U.S. has instead accepted Taiwan`s request for upgrading its existing F-16 A/B jet fighters and is screening the request, the MND statement said.

Rebutting a media report that attributed the U.S. inaction on the F-16 C/Ds to Taiwan`s failure to come up with a request letter, the statement said the MND formally presented those letters for the fighter deal twice in 2006 (in June and July) and again in February 2007.

U.S. authorities did not accept any of those requests on the grounds that they had not yet formulated a policy on the issue, the statement said.

To reinforce Taiwan`s air defense capability, the MND presented the request for upgrading its existing F-16 A/Bs in November 2009, which the United States has accepted, the statement said.

The statement also labeled the claims that President Ma Ying-jeou has disregarded the importance of beefing up Taiwan`s defense arsenal as "incorrect and not factual."

The defense ministry maintains that President Ma has, on many occasions, urged the U.S. to sell Taiwan F-16 C/Ds. These occasions included meetings with American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt, his predecessor Richard C. Bush, U.S. lawmakers, scholars and experts.  (*)