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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Taiwan Strait

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express serious concern about the military imbalance in the Taiwan Strait. To maintain peace and stability in the Strait, it is critical that your administration accept Taiwan's Letter of Request (LOR) and move quickly to notify Congress of the sale of 66 F-16 C/D aircraft that Taiwan needs in order to modernize its air force.

Successive reports issued by U.S. and Taiwanese defense authorities clearly outline the direct threat faced by Taiwan as a result of China's unprecedented military buildup. Beijing presently has more than 1,400 missiles aimed at Taiwan, and China is in the process of deploying next generation Chinese and Russian manufactured ships, fighter aircraft, and submarines. Military experts in both Taiwan and the United States have raised concerns that Taiwan is losing the qualitative advantage in defensive arms that has long served as its primary military deterrent against China.

Taiwan desperately needs new tactical fighter aircraft. Within the next decade Taiwan will retire 70% of its fighter force structure. Its F-5s have reached the end of their utility, its Mirage fighters lack parts and life-cycle support, and its Indigenous Defense Fighters are being converted to a trainer role. Additionally, Taiwan's existing 145 F-16 A/B fighters all require a mid-life upgrade. With F-16s already in its inventory, Taiwan is seeking to combine its fighter fleet around a single airframe with the commensurate cost and operational benefits.

We are deeply concerned that further delay of the decision to sell F-16s to Taiwan could result in closure of the F-16 production line, and urge you to expedite this defense export process before the line closes. Without new fighter aircraft and upgrades to its existing fleet of F-16s, Taiwan will be dangerously exposed to Chinese military threats, aggression and provocation, which pose significant national security implications for the United States.

The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of 1979 directs both the Congress and the President to make decisions on arms sales to Taiwan based solely on the "judgment of the needs of Taiwan," and we believe that Taiwanese pilots, flying Taiwanese fighter aircraft manufactured in the United States, represent the best first line of defense for our democratic ally, while presenting no offensive threat to China.

We urge you to act swiftly and provide Taiwan with the F-16 C/D aircraft that are critical to meeting our obligations pursuant to the TRA and to preserving peace and security in the Taiwan Strait.


1. Robert Menendez(D-NJ)
2. James Inhofe(R-OK)
3. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
4. Dan Coats(R-IN)
5. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
6. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
7. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
8. John Cornyn (R-TX)
9. John Barrasso(R-WY)
10. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
11. Joe Manchin(D-WV)
12. Jeff Sessions(R-AL)
13. Joe Lieberman(I-CT)
14. John Boozman(R-AR)
15. Richard Blumenthal(D-CT)
16. John Hoeven(R-ND)
17. Saxby Chambliss(R-GA)
18. Kay Bailey Hutchison(R-TX)
19. Charles Grassley(R-IA)
20. Scott Brown(R-MA)
21. Thad Cochran(R-MS)
22. Johnny Isakson(R-GA)
23. Marco Rubio(R-FL)
24. Sherrod Brown(D-OH)
25. Jim Webb(D-VA)
26. Ben Cardin(D-MD)
27. Jon Tester(D-MT)
28. John McCain(R-AZ)
29. Jim Risch(R-ID)
30. Lindsey Graham(R-SC)
31. Mike Johanns (R-NE)
32. Richard Burr (R-NC)
33. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
33. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
35. David Vitter (R-LA)
36. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
37. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
38. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV)
39. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
40. Mike Lee (R-UT)
41. Herb Kohl (D-WI)
42. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
43. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
44. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
45. Susan Collins (R-ME)

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