Want China Times
By: Staff Reporter
After failing to purchase F-16C/D fighters from the United States, Taiwan’s Aerospace
Industrial Development Corporation is seeking assistance from Russia to design domestic fifth-generation fighters, according to our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily.
The move by Taiwan may take casual observers by surprise given the island’s anti-Communist history, but during the early stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Soviet Union was a major supplier of military aircraft to the Republic of China Air Force. In addition to 322 bombers, 777 fighters and 100 trainers, the Soviet Union even sent 3,665 pilots and ground crew to support China’s war of resistance against the Japanese. After the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed in 1941, the United States then replaced the Soviet Union to become the Republic of China’s major supporter.
The Soviet Union subsequently became an enemy of the Republic of China due to the assistance it provided to the Communist Party of China during the Chinese Civil War. After the ROC government retreated to Taiwan in 1949, it had to rely on the United States for military hardware. No military-to-military cooperation was established between Moscow and Taipei even after the Soviet Union and Communist China became hostile towards each other in the late 1960s.
An agent from the Soviet Union named Victor Louis was dispatched to Taipei in 1968 to meet then ROC president Chiang Kai-shek and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, to discuss a potential alliance between the two nations according to David Dean who served as political counselor of the US embassy to the Republic of China at the time. Eventually, Chiang Kai-shek rejected the idea of establishing cooperation with the Soviet Union to avoid upsetting the United States. [FULL STORY]