Taiwan Defense Minister Lee Shih-Chiang announced on Monday that the country is hoping to purchase cruise missiles from the US amid increasing pressure from Beijing.
Shih-Chiang said that while his country is trying to develop its own weapons, it will also be leaning on the help of its ally in acquiring long-range, air-launched missiles to bolster its defenses.
The procurement of additional armaments is an attempt to strengthen the island’s ability to strike back in the event of war with China.
When asked what weapon his country is planning to buy from the US, Lee mentioned Lockheed Martin Corp’s AGM-158, a precision standoff cruise missile that can be attached to aircraft such as F-16s.
“We are still in the process of seeking it,” the defense minister said. “Communication channels are very smooth and normal.”
The Taiwan government is wary of increased Chinese military activity near its borders as it continues pressing Beijing to accept its claims of sovereignty.
China has long maintained that Taiwan is an inseparable part of its sovereign territory, even after the latter’s split with the mainland due to the Chinese civil war.
President Xi Jinping even said he will use force, if necessary, to bring the island under his country’s control. However, he has also said that he is seeking peaceful reunification.