The potential sale could, to a large extent promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region while helping Lockheed Mart meet its 2018 sales target.
In efforts aimed an ensuring that Taiwan “remain[s] a democracy” in the face of a Chinese aggression, two senior U.S. Republican senators have asked the Trump administration to allow Lockheed Martin Corp to sell its F-35 fighter jets to Taiwan.
Ever since Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won the presidential elections, China’s hostility towards the island nation has grown manifolds.
China claims Taiwan as its own.
“These fighters will have a positive impact on Taiwan’s self-defense and would act as a necessary deterrent to China’s aggressive military posture across the Asia-Pacific region,” said Senators John Cornyn, the assistant majority leader, and James Inhofe, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, in a letter to President Donald Trump.
Their letter states “After years of military modernization, China shows the ability to wage war against Taiwan for the first time since the 1950’s. However, with your leadership, it is possible to help Taiwan remain a democracy, free to establish a relationship with China that is not driven by military coercion.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The sale of the fighter jets could potentially heighten tensions with China. Already Chinese officials blew their top when the Trump Administration signed a legislation earlier this month that encourages the U.S. to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.
To that end, on Tuesday, the office of Taiwan’s president reiterated its support for the legislation and awarded U.S. Representative Ed Royce, who is currently visiting the island, a medal of honor for his contributions toward Taiwan-U.S. relations.
“President Tsai believes that stable relations between Taiwan and the U.S. serve as an important foundation for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Taiwan has the ability and is willing to work with the United States in the Indo-Pacific region to make more contributions,” said the presidential office.
In January 2018, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis unveiled a new national defense strategy that revolves around countering Russia and China.