No plans for Taiwan to lease F-15 jets from U.S.: minister

Taipei, Defense Minister Yen Teh-fa (???) said Wednesday that there was no truth to a report that the U.S. will lease F-15 fighter aircraft to Taiwan.

Contrary to what Taiwanese news website Up Media reported on Monday, there was no proposal in discussions on arms sales between Taiwan and the U.S. to lease F-15 fighters, formally known as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, Yen said at a hearing of the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

The minister said the three fighter jet models -- the Mirage, the AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo and the F-16 -- currently in the Air Force's fleet are sufficiently capable of defending the country's air space, but he did not address whether Taiwan was interested in the F-15.

Aside from its report Monday of a possible leasing arrangement, Up Media reported in February that the Air Force was planning on purchasing F-15 fighter aircraft, something the ministry neither confirmed nor denied at the time.

At Wednesday's hearing, Yen stressed that what the military was really lacking were soldiers, which is why the ministry has gone to neighborhoods and schools to step up recruiting efforts.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel