An U.S. Air Force’s F-16 Fighter flies during the Aero India 2015 in Air Force Station Yelahanka of Bangalore, India, Feb. 18, 2015. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)
Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen asked US defense industry companies to help the island produce aircraft and vessels at a recent meeting, and Chinese mainland military observers said on Tuesday that this will damage regional peace but will not narrow the gap in military strength between the mainland and the island.
According to the website of the island leader’s office, Tsai met with a defense industry delegation from the US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC) on Monday.
Tsai said in order to “maintain cross-Strait peace and regional stability, Taiwan has been proactive in building its defense through arms purchases, and increasing its defense self-sufficiency by pursuing the domestic production of aircraft and sea vessels.”
Tsai said she hopes the USTBC could help Taiwan and the island’s defense manufacturers link up with “the global supply chain and sell to a global market.”
The US business delegation is in Taiwan for the second Taiwan-US Defense Business Forum, expected to be held on Wednesday in Taoyuan, Taiwan, to discuss “granular issues of bilateral cooperation in the defense industry supply chain,”according to the USTBC website.
Tsai has always been criticized by people of the island for spending huge money to “buy useless and outdated weapons from the US,” said Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, noted that since Tsai wants to get the support of US defense giants to upgrade F-16 fighter jets and build a submarine in the island, it is much easier to cooperate with US companies than with the US government.
The US won’t trust Taiwan and offer any advanced technologies, because once the reunification of China is achieved, these technologies will fall into the hands of the mainland, Li noted, while adding “Cooperation with US defense companies could improve Taiwan’s military capability to some extent, mainland’s overwhelming military advantage won’t be affected at all,” Li said.