Taiwan welcomes any action that would help enhance its defense capabilities, the Ministry of National Defense said on Saturday, after learning that the administration of US President Barack Obama would give serious consideration to selling new fighter aircraft to Taiwan to help redress the disparity in air power across the Taiwan Strait.
“Taiwan appreciates proposals aimed at helping to promote and enhance its defense capabilities,” ministry spokesman Colonel David Lo (羅紹和) said.
In a letter to Republican Senator John Cornyn on Friday, the White House said the idea of selling new aircraft to Taiwan warrants “serious consideration, given the growing military threat to Taiwan.”
“We recognize that China has 2,300 operational combat aircraft, while our democratic partner Taiwan has only 490,” wrote Robert Nabors, a White House aide and director of the Office of Legislative Affairs.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said it was a time for the ministry to inquire about the possibility of submitting a letter of request (LoR) for new F-16C/D aircraft.
Taipei has been anxious to procure new jets to replace older ones, but Washington has been reluctant to accept an LoR “for difficult reasons,” said Lin, a member of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
The negotiations on arms sales could take as long as two to three years, he said, implying that the US would probably want to finish upgrading Taiwan’s existing F-16A/B fleet before moving on.
In September, the US and Taiwan reached a US$5.85 billion arms sale deal to upgrade Taiwan’s 145 F-16A/Bs.
However, the US said Taiwan’s request to procure F-16C/Ds was still under review.
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
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