US finalizes sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan amid escalating tensions with China

A massive weapons deal to Taiwan will include 66 American-made F-16 fighter jets, making it the biggest sale to Taiwan in recent years.

The Trump administration one year ago gave the green light to an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan that started the sale that is all but certain to anger China amid a bitter trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.

Lockheed Martin will produce 90 of the supersonic multirole fighter aircraft. Twenty-four of the planes are expected to go to Morocco.

The deal comes amid mounting tensions between Washington and Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of its sovereign territory. The move could also complicate U.S.-Chinese ties on issues such as Hong Kong and North Korea.

Taiwan already uses the Lockheed Martin-made F-16 heavily in its air force. The F-16V aircraft that was purchased is the most advanced of its kind, marking an upgrade from the F-16A/B models the military currently owns.

When the sale was approved by U.S. officials last year, the bipartisan leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee released a joint statement praising the sale, and said it “sends a strong message about the U.S. commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific.”