“Serious Consideration” for New Taiwan F-16s

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) welcomed the Obama Administration’s pledge to give “serious consideration” to future sales of new-build F-16C/D fighters to Taiwan. “I commend the Administration for recognizing that our friend and ally Taiwan’s air force is woefully undersized and outgunned by communist China,” stated Cornyn in an April 27 release. Cornyn, in whose state Lockheed Martin builds the F-16, had placed on hold the nomination of Mark Lippert to oversee Asian and Pacific security affairs in the Pentagon due to Cornyn’s concern that the White House was not adequately addressing his concerns about Taiwan’s aging fighter fleet. However, White House Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors wrote Cornyn on April 27, telling him that the Administration would consider new F-16C/Ds for Taiwan in addition to the ongoing retrofit of the country’s F-16A/Bs in light of the “growing military threat to Taiwan.” Cornyn lifted his hold and Lippert received Senate confirmation for the senior policy post.