Taiwan has reportedly made a formal request to the US Government for the procurement of new fighter jets to tackle increasing enemy threats.
Taiwan Deputy Defence Minister Shen Yi-ming was quoted by AFP as saying: “We made the request to purchase (fighter jets) because China has been increasing its military strength and we are starting to have an imbalance of power in our air defence capabilities.”
Taiwan defence ministry strategic planning director Huang Wen-chi said the government is not specific in its request for a particular type of fighter jet and is open to considering a range of options that suit its needs.
The options include F-15, F-18, F-16 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter stealth aircraft.
Huang was quoted by AP as saying: “We didn’t mention any of these models in our request. It will depend on what models the US proposes to us, and then we will choose.”
However, local media Apple Daily reported that Taiwan submitted a request for 66 F-16V jets for a consideration of $13bn. The package could include missiles, logistics and training.
The move is set to affect relations between Beijing in China and Taiwan, which is officially known as the Republic of China. Taiwan split from mainland China following the country’s civil war in 1949.
If the deal is finalised, it is also expected to cause tensions between Beijing and Washington.
In September, the US State Department cleared the sale of spare parts for F-16 fighters and other military aircraft to Taiwan in a deal worth up to $330m.