Reports about China’s failed attempt to block the sale of F-16 fighter jets to the Philippines have re-emerged amidst ongoing tension on South China Sea.
According to an American source, the Chinese government intercepted the Philippine’s plan to acquire a squadron of F-16 fighting falcons from American defense company Lockheed-Martin. A representative from the communist country allegedly called Lockheed-Martin CEO Marilyn Hewson through backdoor channel and asked her not to sell the lethal jets to the Philippine government.
The CEO then responded and told the communist government that they have no right to ask such highly unacceptable request. Hewson said that only their government (the United States of America) can ask the company similar request, and besides, it is a government to government business transaction and that the company cannot derail them.
The F-16 fighting falcon is a multi-role air superiority fighter jets developed by General Dynamics and later sold to Lockheed-Martin. There were around 4500 units have been manufactured and used mainly by the United States Navy and Air Force. The said aircraft is one of the most lethal and formidable fighter jets. The Philippines is set to acquire a squadron (12 units) of F-16 starting 2016 according to Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz. “Air Force is going to acquire the latest version of F-16 fighting falcons,” the general said.
In separate news, a South Korean news outlet published a report that reveals China’s attempt to block South Korea from selling FA-50 fighter jets to the Philippines.
A report in The Chosunilbo Monday cited Yomuiri Shimbun’s Oct. 18 report that China made the request prior to former President Aquino’s state visit to South Korea on Oct. 17.
The said request by China happened prior to Aquino’s approval of buying 12 FA-50 multi-role trainer/fighter jets.
Korea reportedly declined, saying it cannot accept “interference” in arms exports, which Seoul considers an issue of national interest.
The Philippine and South Korean governments have agreed to fast-track Manila’s procurement of 12 lead-in fighter jets to upgrade the defense capabilities of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
The Korean government declined to comment about the report, but some top officials of the Korean Armed Forces confirmed the report.
The FA-50 and F-16 fighter jets are both superior to China’s current inventory of refurbished Russian Shenyang fighter jets according to Globalfirepower.com
Despite of China’s attempts to block the Philippines plan to upgrade its Military, the country is now going forward and the plan will not change according to Aquino.
Ten patrol ships for the Philippine Coast Guard are currently built by Japan and the first delivery is expected to arrive on the last quarter of 2015, a senior navy official said. /Danny Toribio/