Taiwan completed a purchase of F-16 fighter jets from American manufacturer Lockheed Martin for an amount that could reach $ 62 billion over 10 years, an announcement that could infuriate China.
The Pentagon announced the contract today, without giving the name of the buying country, but a source close to the matter told AFP that it is Taiwan. The Asian country obtained approval from Washington last year to make the purchase, which will allow it to modernize its defense.
Taiwan already has an F-16 fleet purchased in 1992, but the fighters ordered are now newer and equipped with more modern technologies and weapons. The contract provides for the order to involve 90 planes, according to the Pentagon statement.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory. The island is governed by a rival regime that took refuge there after the Communists came to power in 1949. Washington, which broke diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 to recognize Beijing as the only representative of China, remains the most powerful ally in China. island and its main arms supplier.
The announcement of the sale comes two days after the visit of a senior US official to Taiwan, who has angered Beijing in a context of growing tension between the United States and China.