Latest report from the Pentagon seen as underscoring Taiwan’s bid to buy new F-16 jets
Date: MAY 7, 2019
By: Asia Times Staff
The People’s Liberation Army is unlikely to defeat the Taiwanese military by merely shelling the country’s outlying islands close to the mainland, should hostilities break out between the two militaries. Yet the improved range of the PLA’s missiles, its new stealth fighters and bombers do pose a heightened threat to the self-governed island, which Beijing has vowed to take control of again.
Lawmakers in Taiwan are urging decision-makers to boost the island’s asymmetric defense capabilities, including its arsenal of surface-to-air and shore-based anti-ship missiles.
The call comes after the US military found that the west and northwest of Taiwan, including Taipei, the capital, and Taoyuan, the island’s aviation gateway, would be well within range of the PLA’s new air-defense missiles, according to the Pentagon’s annual report submitted to Congress.
The warning has caused Taiwan to move the bulk of its F-16V fighter fleet further east – to the Chihhang Air Base in Taitung County, which faces the Pacific, so these jets will be out of the reach of the PLA’s surface-to-air missiles during take-off. [FULL STORY]