Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has revealed that her government has submitted a request to the US for F-16V fighters and M1 Abrams tanks to advance the island’s ageing fleet, ONA reports citing Sputnik.
According to her, the advanced fighter jets and tanks will "greatly enhance our land and air capabilities, strengthen military morale, and show to the world the US commitment to Taiwan's defence”.
Tsai, who is reportedly seeking re-election for another four-year term in 2020, also confirmed Taiwan’s commitment to switching to an all-volunteer armed force and boosting defence spending. She noted that the programmes, the island’s authorities have funded, “will make a real difference in Taiwan's defence”.
"We are also investing heavily into training as well as modernising our defence strategies to prioritise the use of asymmetrical capabilities, so that they more closely correspond with the realities of the threat we face”, Tsai pointed out, expressing a hope that this “will ensure that the people of Taiwan remain able to choose our own futures, free of coercion”.
Tsai made the statements during an unofficial visit to Hawaii, closing out her tour to the Pacific island nations of Palau, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands, which are in the meagre list of Taiwan’s 17 allies.
Although there has so far been no official information about the intention of the US to fulfil the request, there have been reports that Donald Trump's advisors are pushing for the purchase to be approved. This has raised serious concerns in Beijing and topped the list of points of discord between the two countries, including the tariff war and the row over Huawei.