UAE Threatens to Cancel $23Bln US Fighter Jet Deal Over Issue of China Influence - Reports

© US Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew BruchA U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq early in the morning of Sept. 23, 2014, after conducting airstrikes in Syria. This F-15 was a part of a large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIL targets in Syria
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq early in the morning of Sept. 23, 2014, after conducting airstrikes in Syria. This F-15 was a part of a large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIL targets in Syria - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is threatening to cancel a $23 billion deal to buy US-made F-35 aircraft and advanced drones due to increasing differences between the two allies on China's role in the Persian Gulf, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The UAE government has told Washington that it could kill the deal over the F-35 aircraft, Reaper drones, and other advanced munitions due to Abu Dhabi's notion that the security requirements laid out by the United States to safeguard the weaponry from Chinese espionage were too onerous.
The United States has grown increasingly worried about China's influence within the UAE and has spelled out conditions that would ensure the fifth generation fighter jet as well as advanced drones would not be vulnerable to Chinese espionage, the report said.
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The Biden administration was not sure if the deal, made under the Trump administration, was effectively over or whether the UAE was using the threat of a cancellation as a bargaining chip ahead of a planned visit on Wednesday by a high-level military delegation to the Defence Department.
The UAE's threat to walk away from the deal apparently arose from a letter written by a junior official in the government, suggesting that it was probably a negotiating tactic heading into Wednesday's meeting, the report said citing US officials.
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