US 'unlikely' to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan

The sale of 66 American F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, which would cause fury in Beijing, now appears unlikely to go through, according to sources. Taiwan has repeatedly asked Washington to agree to sell it the advanced fighters, citing the need to counter the growing military strength of China, which views the island as a breakaway province.

China cut off ties with the United States military for most of last year to protest against an American arms package for Taiwan. Sources following the issue said Washington would probably opt against the F-16 sale.

"If the Obama administration goes this way, it's a political decision," Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, said.