Before selling high-end weapon platforms to an ally, you have to ensure that technology won't find it's way into an adversary's hands.

That concern took relevance again on Monday when Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and James Inhofe, R-Okla., wrote to President Trump asking him to authorize the sale of F-35B fighter jets to Taiwan.

In their letter to Trump, the senators claim that "The survivability of the F-35B and modern long-range sensors could help Taiwan intercept Chinese missiles, promoting deterrence well into the next decade. The F-35B would not only provide a modern fifth-generation fighter, but would also bolster their capabilities in next-generation warfare."

This is true.

While the F-35 program has been beset by delays, cost overruns and technical issues, the aircraft is a superb platform that allows the U.S. and its allies to penetrate enemy air space and defend our own. This is especially important in the context of superb Chinese and Russian air defense systems.

Yet what's also true is that providing F-35s to Taiwan would bring up two challenges.

First, it would infuriate the Chinese government and likely lead to escalation against Taiwanese and U.S. interests. On paper, I would say that this concern is mitigated by the context of ongoing Chinese efforts to militarize the South China Sea, to displace the U.S.-led international order, and to steal high-end U.S. intellectual property.

More problematic is the risk that Taiwan's possession of F-35s would mean that technology falling into Chinese hands.

This is no small worry in that China's intelligence presence in Taiwan is both widespread and deeply integrated. I believe that if the F-35 is sold to Taiwan, China will get its hands all over the jet in very short order. And that will allow the Chinese military to learn how to better detect and defeat the aircraft in a future conflict.

For that reason, I believe it would be a mistake to provide the F-35 to Taiwan at this time.

Still, Taiwan does need better capabilities.

In their letter, the senators note that only around half of Taiwan's F-16 fleet -- approximately 65 jets -- are currently available to defend the island (Taipei would help itself by increasing defense spending here).

But Cornyn and Inhofe do offer an alternative to the F-35: the sale of more F-16V aircraft. The most advanced version of the F-16 fighter fleet, the V class would give Taiwan a bolstered ability to defend its territory without risking the aforementioned F-35 considerations.

Ultimately, Trump should respond positively to the F-16V suggestion. Taiwan is a democratic ally of the United States under pressure from increasing Chinese aggression. It deserves support in its national defense, but in a way that prioritizes U.S. security interests.