Taiwan deploys advanced fighter jets amid tensions with China
Taiwan reportedly deployed advanced fighter jets on Thursday in a show of strength and cooperation with the U.S. amid rising tensions with China, which claims sovereignty over the democratically run island.
Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, showed off the 64 upgraded F-16V fighter jets at an air force base in Chiayi, The Associated Press reported.
The news service noted that the fourth-generation fighter jets have the ability to track 20 targets at a time and use advanced weaponry, adding that the U.S., China and Russia possess fifth-generation aircraft.
The jets were unveiled after China repeatedly entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in recent months. China’s leaders also have not ruled out taking the island by force.
“I believe that as long as we adhere to the values of democracy and freedom, there will be more like-minded countries standing on the same front with us,” Tsai said at the event, according to Reuters.
Taiwan’s 141 F-16 A/B jets are also set to be retrofitted by the end of 2023, according to the AP.
The Biden administration has recently had to clarify remarks by President Biden regarding Taiwan.
Officials on Tuesday backpedaled after the president suggested the U.S. supported Taiwan’s efforts for self-determination.
The president also said in October that U.S. troops would defend Taiwan if China attacked but also said the U.S. is committed to the Taiwan Relations Act, which allows the U.S. to provide arms to Taiwan for its defense but does not commit Washington to sending troops.