In the wake of the latest Pentagon report on China’s military might, Taiwan has repeated its plea for advanced F-16 warplanes from the United States to defend itself — apparently from a potential Chinese military threat.
Receiving visiting U.S. Senator Roland Burris on Thursday, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou requested the U.S. government to “cautiously consider selling F-16C/Ds to Taiwan as the balance of cross-Strait military power is tipping in China’s favor.”
He justified his persistent appeals for American fighter planes saying that “Taiwan people’s top concern is Taiwan’s security.”
In a report released on Monday, the U.S. Defense Department expressed concern over Beijing’s expanding military capabilities directed at Taiwan, saying “the balance of cross-Strait military forces continues to shift in the mainland’s favor.”
The report drew protest from Chinese government over its “interfering nature, distortion of facts, and baseless speculations.” The Chinese Defense Ministry condemned the Pentagon report, and clarified that its military “does not pose a threat to any nation.”
“We hope the U.S. can continue to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, including F16 C/Ds, diesel submarines and other items we have requested,” Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Yu Sy-tue said.
Receiving a delegation from the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies earlier this month, Ma Ying-jeou said armament like the C/D versions of F-16 fighter jets are necessary not to increase the attack power, but to replace outdated warplanes.
He added that while Taiwan-U.S. military cooperation was important to Taipei, equally important was the need to reduce tension in the Taiwan Strait. He reminded Washington to keep its commitment to sell arms under the Taiwan Relations Act.
At the same time, he repeatedly urged China to remove the missiles facing Taiwan as a condition for Taipei discussing a peace pact with Beijing, which turned a dumb ear to it.
- RTT News