The Cabinet on Thursday approved a special draft act governing Taiwan's procurement of new fighter jets from the United States. The legislation, drafted by the Ministry of National Defense, will be forwarded to the Legislature for deliberation.
Premier Su Tseng-chang said China has escalated threats to Taiwan's airspace in recent years by sending an ever-increasing number of military aircraft to circle around Taiwan. This past March two Chinese air force fighters crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait, constituting a severe provocation against Taiwan's national security. As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan must acquire advanced weaponry to protect itself and will continue increasing investments in defense technology.
The 66 new F-16V Block 70 fighters the U.S. has agreed to sell Taiwan mark a major breakthrough in Taiwan's arms procurement and diplomatic difficulties since the first purchase of F-16A/B fighter jets from the U.S. in 1992. The deal also represents the largest weapons sale to Taiwan in recent years. Following the U.S.'s passage of legislation supportive of Taiwan—including the Taiwan Travel Act in March 2018, the Taiwan Assurance Act in May 2019 and the National Defense Authorization Act in July 2019—this arms sale once again demonstrates the game-changing advances that have resulted from strengthening relations between Taiwan and the United States.
In addition to thanking the U.S. for its pragmatic actions and staunch support of Taiwan's efforts to maintain a free and democratic way of life, the premier also affirmed the collaborative efforts of government agencies on the procurement case. Acquiring these aircraft will enable Taiwan to better defend its national security and help maintain peace and stability in the wider region, he added.