In the month of October, a record number of Chinese warplanes made sorties into Taiwan''s Air Defense Identification Zone. With the rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait, it''s been reported that Taipei and Washington are discussing an early delivery of the F-16V fighter jets ordered by Taiwan. A retired Air Force general said Sunday that Taiwan is just one of several nations, including Bahrain, Bulgaria, and Slovakia, that have placed an order for the F-16Vs. But since there''s greater urgency in Taiwan''s case, the U.S. is now considering fast-tracking Taiwan''s order.

Don Lemon

CNN anchor

Multiple officials are telling CNN that the Biden administration has discussed fast tracking dozens of American F-16 fighter jets ordered by Taiwan in 2019.

With rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait as a result of the People’s Liberation Army sending a record number of warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, the Biden administration may expedite delivery of the F-16V fighter jets Taiwan ordered.

This batch, ordered in 2019, was scheduled to arrive in 2023. In addition to Taiwan, there are also countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe waiting for their shipment. Yet considering the current security situation in the region becoming more urgent, Taiwan has requested the U.S. for an earlier delivery, starting in 2022.

Chang Yen-ting

Former Air Force deputy commanding general

One hundred of China’s jets are the J-16, a 4.5-generation fighter jet, so we should have 4.5-generation jets, too, the F-16V, so we can have a parity between our equipment. The F-16Vs will be deployed at Taitung’s Zhi-Hang Air Base, which is very close to Taiwan’s southwest and southeast ADIZ, giving them easy access. China’s jets and warships often lurk in the Bashi Channel, and Taitung’s Zhi-Hang Air Base is also closest to the Bashi Channel.

The retired military commander said weaponry upgrades are frequent, so the earlier the order arrives, the better. Apart from purchasing new F-16V fighters, Taiwan’s existing F-16A/B aircraft are being upgraded to F-16Vs in recent years. In the 10-day period from the beginning of the month to National Day, the PLA sent 153 warplanes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, peaking at 56 on Oct. 4. Though China hit pause for 5 days after the 10th, it sent yet another plane into the southwest ADIZ on the 16th.

Chang Yen-ting

Former Air Force deputy commanding general

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that included invitation to Taiwan to participate in the 2022 Rim of the Pacific Exercise, which is currently the largest maritime warfare exercise. We have made tremendous diplomatic breakthroughs, and China, for its part, has to take a political stance.

Whether it’s the early delivery of F-16Vs, or the invitation to join RIMPAC, the U.S. is clearly responding, with action, to China’s military threats.