Taiwan asks US to speed up delivery of F-16 fighters as China threat looms large: Report
Amid the growing threat from China, reports have emerged stating that Taiwan officials have urged Washington to speed up the delivery of US-made F-16 jets to Taipei.
US President Joe Biden's "administration has discussed with Taiwanese officials the possibility of expediting the delivery of American-made F-16s to Taiwan," reported Taipei Times citing a CNN report.
"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," the report said.
This came as 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 report added.
Around 150 Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft have made incursions in Taiwan's air defence identification zone from October 1-5, Taipei Times reported citing the data from Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense.
Meanwhile, these are one the biggest incursions from Beijing that Taiwan has surfaced in the last few days.
The incursions happened as Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing.
China has also threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war. On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island.
Recently, Taipei has also expressed that it will not start a war with China but 'it is prepared for it'.