TAIPEI – Taiwan plans to purchase four warships from the United States as part of the island’s efforts to modernize its forces against former rival China, local media reported Sunday.
The defense ministry briefed President Ma Ying-jeou on the proposed arms deal during a meeting last month and is prepared to set aside the budget next year, the United Daily News said, without specifying the cost.
The ministry declined to comment on the report.
If finalized, the arms deal will increase to 12 the total number of such warships owned by Taiwanese navy.
The four Perry-class frigates, separately built in the 1980s and to be retired by the US navy lately, are aimed to replace the Taiwan navy’s fleet of eight Knox-class frigates, the daily said.
Tensions between Taiwan and China have eased markedly since President Ma Ying-jeou of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008 on a platform of beefing up trade links and allowing more Chinese tourists to visit.
Ma was re-elected for a second term in January.
China however has still refused to renounce its use of force against Taiwan even though the island has governed itself for more than 60 years after their split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.