Taiwan seeks F-16s to boost defence

The United States says China is gaining military superiority over Taiwan.

Taipei: Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday called on the US to sell F-16s to Taipei to boost the island`s defences after the Pentagon said this week that China is gaining military superiority over Taiwan.

"Taiwan people`s top concern is Taiwan`s security," Ma said. "I hope the US can cautiously consider selling F-16C/Ds to Taiwan as the balance of cross-Strait military power is tipping in China`s favour."

Ma made the comment while receiving visiting US Senator Roland Burris. It is the third time this month that Ma had raised the F-16 purchase while receiving US visitors.

Taiwan ordered 150 F-16A/Bs from the US in 1992 but is seeking to buy 66 F-16C/Ds to replace the outdated models.

The US is evaluating Taipei`s request after Beijing asked Washington to end arms sales to Taiwan, calling them an obstacle to Taiwan-China unification.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, to be brought back into the motherland one day, by force if necessary.