Wendell Minnick

President Barack Obama has to strike a balance on one lingering problem: is Taiwan getting its new F-16’s or not. Defense expert Wendell Minnick believes Taiwan might get an upgrade, but no new F’16’s, possibly jeopardizing Sino-US relations he tells M&Q.

Analysts described any new sale of F-16s as a red line for China, which the US sees as a crucial economic partner. Washington hopes not to upset Beijing as it did in January 2010 with the approval of a 6.4-billion-US-dollar arms package for Taiwan.

US President Barack Obama might decline the request for 66 new fighters but offer to upgrade the existing F-16 fleet, said Wendell Minnick, Asia bureau chief with the Defense News weekly. The US wants to help Taiwan, he said, because the island is a ‘pivot point’ for control over the militarily sensitive South China Sea.

More in M&Q.

Wendell Minnick is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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