Taiwan deploys F-16V jets amid China threat

Tsai Ing-wen inspecting the upgraded F-16V fighter jets in Chiayi base.  

Taiwan held a ceremony on Thursday to commission the first squadron of its most advanced F-16 fighter, a U.S.-made jet that will strengthen the island’s defences against threats by China.

President Tsai Ing-wen oversaw the ceremony at an air base in the southern city of Chiayi alongside Sandra Oudkirk, Washington’s de facto Ambassador to Taiwan.

“This represents the steadfast promise of the Taiwan-U.S. partnership,” Ms. Tsai said.

“I trust that in holding fast to democratic values, there will definitely be more countries with similar values who will stand with us on this front.”

The F-16V is an upgraded and much more sophisticated version of Taiwan’s other ageing F-16 fighters which date back to the 1990s. The island also has French-made Mirage jets and its own indigenous warplane.

The F-16V boasts more advanced radar systems as well as more sophisticated weaponry, navigation and electronic warfare systems.

The ceremony prompted a fiery response from Beijing at a press briefing, with an official saying “China opposes any official contact between the U.S. and Taiwan”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged the U.S. not to send “wrong signals to separatist forces”.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 8:42:35 PM |

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