Taipei, May 3 (CNA) A Taiwanese military expert on Friday hailed the government's decision to purchase F-16V fighter jets from the United States for deployment in eastern Taiwan as a "correct strategic choice."
The F-16V jets are to replace the aging fleet of F-5E fighters at the Chi-Hang Air Force Base in Taitung County, which will be out of the reach of China's S-400 anti-air missiles, Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a researcher at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told CNA.
Although the S-400 Triumf missile is intended to hit targets at ranges of up to 400 kilometers, Su said, they are only capable of covering the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan's western half, given the geographic features in eastern Taiwan, which has the Central Mountain Range and Coastal Mountain Range running down most of it.
Under such conditions, Taiwan's Air Force will gain an air supremacy in the region with the F-16V jets, he contended.
Su's comments came after the U.S. Defense Department published a report on Thursday warning that "China's leaders are leveraging China's growing economic, diplomatic and military clout to establish regional preeminence and expand the country's international influence."
Beijing in particular increasingly sees the U.S. as becoming more confrontational and trying to contain China's expanding power, the report said.
According to Su, since Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) assumed power, China has begun to incorporate its economic might into its military strategy, and it is seeking to further strengthen its military and economic power by building a strong national defense industry.
China's brisk military sales have made it the world's fourth-largest exporter of arms and weapons, Su noted.
Taiwan has officially asked to buy 66 F-16V jet fighters from the United States and Washington is expected to give a response in July.