File picture shows a US Air Force F-16 fighter taking part in the USA -led Saber Strike exercise flies over Estonia June 6, 2018. "These fighters are critical to improving Taiwan's ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People's Republic of China", he said in a statement. Cruz said he would work his colleagues to ensure the sale proceeds smoothly. -China tensions, saying, "China never likes USA arms sales to Taiwan".
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement Friday that Taiwan's government is "cautiously optimistic" over the planned purchase, citing four previous arms sales by Washington to Taipei, which it described as signs of the U.S.'s "firm support of Taiwan's security".
Marco Rubio, a Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, called the administration's decision to forward Taiwan's request for 66 F-16s to Congress for approval "an important step in support of Taiwan's self-defence efforts".
China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control and has repeatedly denounced USA arms sales to the island.
The State Department, which would ultimately authorize the sale, declined to comment, but members of Congress from both parties welcomed the proposal.
The State Department stressed that no formal notification to Congress had taken place, something that must still occur before a sale is formally announced.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was quoted by Xinhua as saying the Taiwan issue involves China's "core interests", and urged the United States to stop arms sales to and military contact with the self-ruled island.
Taiwan's Air Force said it is planning to establish a new fighter wing when new fighter jets are acquired after the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is moving ahead with its US$8 billion sale of F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan.
China has responded furiously to all such sales and recently announced it would impose sanctions on any USA enterprises involved in such deals, saying they undermine China's sovereignty and national security.
On Thursday, Taiwan unveiled its largest defence spending increase in more than a decade, to T$411.3 billion (US$13.11 billion).