Hawaii: As China steps up its pressure, Taiwan has submitted a request to the United States for purchasing F-16 jets and M-1 tanks to enhance its military capabilities, according to the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
This comes after the US Defence Intelligence Agency highlighted that China had modernised its military to improve its ability to fight regional conflicts, according to CNN.
“Beijing’s longstanding interest to eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and deter any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence has served as the primary driver for China’s military modernization,” the report by the US Agency stated.
The Taiwanese President said that the US weapons would “greatly enhance our land and air capabilities, strengthen military morale and show to the world the US commitment to Taiwan’s defence.”
China, on the other hand, has opposed this development. Beijing “firmly opposed to US arms sales to Taiwan and US military contact with Taiwan,” China’s Defence Ministry said.
The Ministry’s spokesman Wu Qian said: “The Taiwan issue belongs to China’s internal affairs, concerns China’s core interest and the national bond of the Chinese people – it allows no outside interference. Such dangerous moves aren’t in the interest of either side.”
China has regarded Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory, even though the island has been de facto independent from mainland China since the civil war of 1949.
Taiwan, or the Republic of China, has always maintained that it is a free country with the Taiwanese President Tsai stating that China would have to “face the reality of the existence of the Republic of China” in her New Year’s address.
Meanwhile, China, or the People’s Republic of China, has continuously stressed for reunification with the island and reiterated that Taiwan is a part of its internal affairs.