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Strait Talk: The United States will continue to help Taiwan bolster its defensive capabilities as US officials also monitor China's military developments, Peter Lavoy, principal assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told lawmakers. "Stability in the Taiwan Strait is critically important to the Obama Administration, and has a strong bearing on our enduring interests in and commitments to peace and stability in the Asian-Pacific region,” said Lavoy in testimony Tuesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Although Congress already has approved more than $12 billion in defense aid to Taiwan in the past two years, Lavoy said the United States will continue "to make available to Taiwan defense articles and services to enable it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability." Most recently, the White House announced its intent to upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of F-16s, much to the ire of the mainland Chinese communist government. (AFPS report by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.)