Aleksander Solum and Ann Wang
Hualien, Taiwan (Reuters) – Taiwan’s F-16 fighter jets flexed their muscles in front of the media on Wednesday, dashing into the night sky to show how they face China’s war game. Days, the determination of the army to defend the democratically ruled island.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, followed the visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month, Military exercises have been ongoing around the island, followed by five U.S. lawmakers on Sunday and Monday.
Pelosi’s visit angered China, which for the first time tested ballistic missiles over Taipei and sent warships and fighter jets close to Taiwan, although the scale of the activity has now been greatly reduced.
During a government-organized trip to the mountainous Hualien Air Force Base on Taiwan’s east coast, reporters watched how ground crews quickly loaded weapons into the F-16, including Boeing’s Harpoon anti-ship missile .
Defense Ministry spokesman Sun Lifang told reporters at the base that while they condemned China’s actions, it was a good opportunity for Taiwan’s military to hone their skills.
“We’re going to take this opportunity to test all the training we normally do and in this way improve our existing methods and improve our combat effectiveness,” he said.
“The ROC military has the confidence, capability and determination to defend the security of the ROC,” Sun added, using the official Taiwanese name.
While Taiwanese fighter jets, including Hualien’s F-16s, have been scrambling since the beginning of this month, the Defense Ministry stressed Taiwan’s “calm” response and no clashes occurred.
“I wouldn’t say F-16 pilot Djangolin said, “It’s changed a lot, but we’re fighting more often and the tension is higher. “
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said that they are not seeking provocation
Hualien base, the hangers dug out from the mountainside, there are two pilots on duty at all times, wearing flight suits , can be in the air within six minutes.
The fighter aircraft on display is the Lockheed Martin F-16V, Taiwan’s most advanced fighter aircraft.
Taiwan has been modified 141 F-16A/B jets converted to F-16Vs and added to an initial order of 66 new F-16Vs with new avionics, weapons and radar systems to better counter the Chinese Air Force , including its J-20 stealth fighter.
The F-16V can also carry Raytheon Technologies Corp’s advanced AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile.
Taiwanese government says , since the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island, it has no right to claim or determine its
(Reporting by Aleksander Solum and Ann Wang; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Hugh Lawson)