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Taiwan rejects report on decade-old request to purchase F-35s
Central News Agency
2014-02-11 11:14 AM
Washington, Feb. 10 (CNA) Taiwanese officials based in Washington on Monday denied a U.S. news report that Taiwan asked to buy F-35 fighters from the United States a decade ago. The officials familiar with foreign and defense affairs described the report as "totally untrue." Given that the F-35 only flew for the first time in 2006, it is impossible that Taiwan could have submitted a letter of intent to buy the aircraft as early as 10 years ago, they said. According to the report published on DefenseNews.com, Taiwan submitted a letter of intent through its representative office in the United States for a briefing on future price and availability data for 120 F-35B aircraft in 2002. A "bolder request" for 60 F-35Bs and 150 F-35A conventional fighters was made in 2004, the report said. DefenseNews has reported the existence of Taiwan's letter of intent in the past, and quoted a passage from the letter in its most recent article. "The primary purpose of this acquisition is to provide a credible response capability in the event that our air bases become non-functional due to initial air, missile and special operations force attack," DefenseNews quoted the letter as saying. F-35B is a short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft and would help overcome the damage caused to runways by China's missiles in case of an attack, the report said. (By Tony Liao and Y.F. Low)
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