The United States may consider selling new fighter jets to Taiwan.
Chinese pressures push most Western nations’s defense industries into avoiding Taiwan, but the Taiwanese military is rapidly showing its age. U.S. fighter jet sales would do little to completely solve the problem of a potential Chinese invasion, but could get the ball rolling on a more serious strategic alliance between the U.S. and Taiwan:
TAIPEI, Taiwan – The administration of President Barack Obama is raising the possibility that it could sell new jet fighter aircraft to Taiwan to help redress the island’s air power deficit with China.
If the move goes through, it would infuriate Beijing, which claims the democratic island as its territory and regards all foreign defense sales there as interference in its affairs.
China has 2,300 operational combat aircraft, against only 490 for Taiwan. In September, the U.S. turned down a Taiwanese request for 66 relatively advanced F-16 jet fighters, while agreeing to help Taiwan upgrade its existing F-16 fleet. Critics accused the White House of yielding to pressure from China.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949. Despite a marked improvement in relations over the past four years, China still threatens to attack across the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait if Taiwan moves to make its de facto independence permanent.
The possible change in American policy came in a letter Friday from White House director of legislative affairs Rob Nabors to Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas. The letter said that a newly appointed assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific affairs would consider the matter of selling new U.S. warplanes to Taiwan. (Source: AP via Foxnews)
This may be the start of a new trend, but promises of military assistance to Taiwan are common whenever China angers the United States. These promises rarely pan out, and I wouldn’t consider this such a major deviation from U.S. foreign policy until Washington starts following through, signing contracts, and delivering on them.
F-35 sales abroad continue to run into major roadblocks, so it’s possible that the U.S. defense industry might NEED Taiwan, but with the People’s Republic of China exploding at the slightest hint of dealings with the Republic of China , I’ll believe it when I see new U.S.-made planes landing at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base.
Craig was born & raised in the United States, having recently returned there after over five years in Asia. He is currently pursuing further education in the realms of East Asian Studies and Politics. Craig is an avid fan of the political, economic, and military machinations occurring throughout the Asian continent and how those turning gears affect the rest of the world. He's currently covering both North and South Korea for Asia Security Watch, enjoying shedding light on to this far-too-often ignored slice of Asia.
Craig Scanlan has 82 post(s) on Asia Security Watch