Friday, January 28, 2011

Taiwan calls for US fighter jets, cites China stealth plane

A top Taiwanese official has renewed calls for Washington to sell the island advanced aircraft in the wake of China's development of its first stealth plane, a report said Wednesday.

Parliamentary speaker Wang Jin-pyng warned that China could upset regional and global order by developing the J-20 jet, the state Central News Agency said.

He urged Washington to provide Taiwan with advanced fighter jets to counter a serious imbalance between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait due to China's rapid military expansion, the report said.

Wang, a top politician from the governing Kuomintang party, made the comments during a visit to the United States where he is expected to meet with US politicians and academics, it said.

Taipei applied to the US government to buy 66 F-16 C/D fighters in early 2007, but observers say Washington has held up the deal for fear of angering Beijing.

China opposes any arms sales to Taiwan, which it considers a part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war and have been governed separately since.

Taiwan maintains that it still needs to maintain sufficient self defence despite improving ties in recent years.

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