An interesting story in today’s Wall Street Journal looks at what the U.S.-Taiwan jet issue means for the South China Sea dispute and China’s relations with Southeast Asian nations:
The Philippines and Indonesia shook off any concerns over a U.S. decision to forego selling new fighter jets to Taiwan, despite fears it could signal a reduction in American support for the region as China expands its military power.
The U.S. decision, reported Monday by the Wall Street Journal, means the Obama administration will upgrade Taiwan’s 146 Lockheed Martin F-16 A/B jets rather than selling it 66 new C/D models that the island has been seeking since 2006, according to a congressional official. Southeast Asian officials were watching the outcome closely to see how the U.S. would balance its growing commercial relationship with China with its commitment to help defend Taiwan against possible aggression from China. It is a subject of intense interest in Southeast Asia given ongoing disputes between many of its countries and China, especially over territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea.