Tue, Sep 20, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan plans to request F-35s from US

CONSOLATION DEAL:Although reports suggest the US is willing to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16A/Bs, analysts say Taiwan is still way behind China in the race for air superiority

Staff Writer, with CNA and AP, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, Washington a

As to whether Taiwan would procure a next-generation aircraft such as the F-35, Yang said Taiwan would definitely move in that direction.

Any arms deal will be based on Taiwan’s defense needs and ultimate goals as well as Washington’s assessment of the overall situation, Yang said.

“For our part, we would not pass up any available options,” he said.

Yang is scheduled to meet US officials in Washington after the defense industry conference ends.

The China Daily yesterday warned on its front page that an arms sale would “spark strong reaction.”

The article quoted Tao Wenzhao (陶文昭), a senior researcher at Tsinghua University in Beijing, as saying “the [arms sale] hurts China’s core interests. And to keep on doing the wrong thing for 30 years just doesn’t make it right.”

In an editorial on Saturday, the Global Times warned that Beijing should not limit its focus on the US when threatening retaliation over arms sales to Taiwan, but Taipei as well.

“The mainland [China] should not sit idly by concerning this protection money paid by Taiwan. Instead, it should remind Taipei that such an investment will bring only disaster,” it said. “Beijing used to seek revenge on Washington after arms sales to Taiwan. This time, it should also include Taipei as Beijing has more leverage on the island.”

Beijing should notify Washington and Taipei in advance of the “fateful consequences” of a new arms sale, it said, adding that pressuring Taipei would produce better results than directly confronting Washington.

“In 1994, Turkey threatened Greek Cypriots that it would destroy any missiles imported from Greece and installed in areas controlled by Greek Cypriots. This worked well,” the editorial said. “The mainland has never taken such a stance against Taiwan for fear that it might be going too far. However, Beijing should no longer rule out such measures any more if it wants to prevent the island from overstepping the line.”

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