Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi warned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the US plan to upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of F-16s could ruin relations between the two super powers, reported Reuters. Monday’s warning apparently did not come as a surprise to the Obama Administration, although Chinese officials did up the ante by saying they may cancel or postpone military-to-military engagements—a top priority for the Pentagon. Addressing reporters Tuesday at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C., Adm. Robert Willard, head of US Pacific Command, said he remains hopeful that discussions between China and the United States will continue. “I think regardless of the effects of this particular round of Taiwan arms sales and disagreement between our two governments on that issue, China will be very likely to retain the high-level visitation . . . that will enable us to continue those strategic-level discussions,” he said. (Includes AFPS report by Karen Parrish) (Willard transcript, including video of event)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.