Taiwanese officials have reportedly reached out to the US to discuss the possibility of expediting the delivery of F-16 jets to Taiwan, CNN said on Friday.
While the “Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific Command has watched with increasing concern as China has rapidly modernized its military and improved its training with an eye to Taiwan,” the US Department of State is wary of taking a more aggressive stance against China, a CNN report said.
US President Joe Biden’s “administration has discussed with Taiwanese officials the possibility of expediting the delivery of American-made F-16s to Taiwan, according to Taiwanese and US officials familiar with the talks,” the report said.
Photo: Cheng I-hwa, Bloomberg
“The sale of the 22 fighter jets was approved in 2019, but Taiwan hopes to speed up the actual delivery time — which normally can take up to 10 years — particularly in light of the recent Chinese provocations,” it said.
A total of 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered the southwestern part of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5, Ministry of National Defense data showed.
By comparison, the PLA deployed 380 military aircraft near Taiwan over the whole of last year.
Separately, a source said that the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on Wednesday held a meeting with Democratic Progressive Party legislators Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) and Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國); New Power Party Chairwoman and Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華); Michael Schiffer, senior adviser and counselor on the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; and state department officials.
In the meeting, US officials said that legislators’ suggestion about expediting the delivery of arms that had already been purchased could be looked into, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Early delivery of arms that had already been bought would antagonize Beijing less and would not escalate tension in the region, the source said, adding that such a move would convey the US’ concern regarding Beijing’s threatening attitude toward Taiwan.
It would send a clear signal to Beijing while keeping things under control, they added.
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