TAIPEI: Taiwan has made a formal request to the United States for new fighter jets to defend itself against increasing Chinese threats, Deputy Defence Minister Shen Yi-ming told reporters Thursday, reports AFP.
“We made the request to purchase (fighter jets) because China has been increasing its military strength and we are starting to have an imbalance of power in our air defence capabilities,” Shen added.The request, if granted, could ramp up tensions between China and the United States.
Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting unification, even though the two sides have been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.
China has significantly stepped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since the Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, including staging a series of military exercises near the island.
Chinese bombers and surveillance aircraft have also begun flying much more regular sorties around the island.