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Taiwan ordered 150 F-16A/Bs from the US in 1992 but is seeking to buy 66 F-16C/Ds to replace the outdated models.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