Taiwan Rejects Most of U.S. Arms Package Offered in 2001

June 16, 2007 at 9:20 am | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments

Jane Rickards in Taipei, June 16 2007 Washington Post

After six years of hesitation, Taiwan’s legislature voted Friday night to approve only a small portion of an $18 billion arms package suggested by the Bush administration as the best way to gird the self-ruled island against any attack by China.

The negotiated decision, which passed on a vote of 176 to 20, called for Taiwan to spend $300 million on military purchases from the United States. Legislators approved the purchase of P-3 Orion anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft but declined to equip the island with the advanced PAC-3 antimissile systems encouraged by the Bush administration, opting instead to update existing Patriot missile batteries.

Legislators also declined to purchase diesel-electric submarines as suggested by Washington but promised to study the issue further.

The approved purchases fall far short of the arms package proposed by the Bush administration in 2001 as the best way to meet the challenge of China’s military buildup. The legislature’s decision seemed likely to intensify complaints in Washington that Taiwan is unwilling to shoulder the expenses necessary to maintain a level of military preparedness.

Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy here, had repeatedly called on Taiwan’s government and legislature to come up with funds for the arms package suggested by Washington. But despite his appeals, and those of other officials in the Bush administration, the issue had long been bogged down in Taiwan’s partisan politics.

President Chen Shui-bian and his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party battled long and hard to get the arms package funded, calling it vital for Taiwan’s defense. But the opposition Nationalist Party, which controls the Legislative Yuan, refused to endorse it, saying the suggested purchases were too expensive, inappropriate for Taiwan’s needs and likely to fuel an arms race with the mainland.

Philip Yang, a political science professor at National Taiwan University, said the Nationalists decided to endorse at least the Orion aircraft purchase under the influence of Ma Yingjeou, the Nationalist candidate in the 2008 presidential election, who is eager to show he can deliver better relations with the United States than the often-contentious Chen.

Analysts said the approval of even a small part of the arms package might persuade Washington to approve a Taiwanese request for purchase of advanced F-16 aircraft. The budget called for buying the F-16s if Washington agreed to sell them, according to Su Chi, a Nationalist lawmaker.

The Bush administration had been unwilling to entertain the Taiwanese request for F-16s, saying the languishing 2001 arms package proposal had to be dealt with first.

There’s an arms “race” no matter what Taiwan decides to do. It’s not as if China slowed down its military buildup and modernization process over the past six years. It’s true that Taiwan cannot afford to engage China head on, but the island must possess enough of a deterrent to make the PLA think twice before attempting to “liberate” Taiwan.


Why is the U.S. Ignoring Taiwan?

June 13, 2007 at 11:37 pm | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment

Therese Shaheen, June 14 2007 WSJ Commentary

Even as the United States is engaged in a global war against Islamist extremists, it has maintained its focus on other, more traditional security commitments around the world. For example, the six-party talks on North Korea and continued support to the government of Colombia in its struggle against narco-terrorists show that the U.S. has not neglected its other important global obligations.

Except perhaps one.

The commitment we have made to defend Taiwan if the island nation is attacked by China may be floundering, in a growing gap between what we say we are prepared to do to honor that commitment, and what we actually are doing to ensure we understand — and can execute — our commitment.

Simply put, U.S. policy toward Taiwan — a pro-U.S. democracy with an emerging two-party system — appears to be drifting. Formal and informal contacts, already complicated by the absence of diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei, have become less frequent, less high-level and less hospitable. If we are not careful, we may find ourselves in a situation where we would have to extricate ourselves — gracefully or otherwise — from a commitment that will have become increasingly difficult to honor.

The heart of the problem is that there is very little transparency between the U.S. and Taiwan. Neither treaty, statute nor explicit policy stands in the way. Rather, credit bureaucratic policy drift, made possible by otherwise distracted policy makers, combined with over-reliance on wishful thinking with respect to the U.S.-China relationship.

As journalist James Mann has argued, today’s status quo has also developed in part because of the artful application by leaders in Beijing and their more ardent supporters in the U.S. of such terms as “provocative,” and “pushing the envelope” in characterizing Taiwan’s actions with respect to its status and its relations with China. The acceptance of such language makes it difficult for the U.S. to draw closer to Taiwan without risking Beijing’s ire.

The rhetoric-reality gap provokes obvious questions: What preconditions are in place to ensure that military action is a last resort? Under what circumstances would the U.S. intervene? What is the state of the Taiwan military leadership? How ready are Taiwan’s forces to defend themselves? How ready are U.S. forces to work with them, should that be necessary?

Taiwan might be more serious about providing for its own defense and less reliant on U.S. commitments if there were greater clarity into what they mean and how they might be discharged. But the limited interaction imposed by the reality of U.S.-China-Taiwan circumstances has made this goal difficult to achieve. Today, the bureaucracy makes decisions by self-policing an unstated policy of “nothing goes.” One recent example: In May, the U.S. National Press Club hosted a discussion with Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian by video link. U.S. officials at the desk-officer level concluded that it would undermine policy to attend this public event, reasoning that Mr. Chen’s appearance was intended as an attempt to circumvent restrictions on senior Taiwan officials visiting Washington, D.C.

But the lack of interaction goes beyond one-off, questionable decisions such as that. Military officers at the one-star level or above, or the civilian equivalent, are not permitted to meet in Taiwan with their counterparts. While there is serious contingency planning at high levels on both sides, senior U.S. planners and decision makers do not interact with their Taiwan counterparts. The dialogue instead is conducted by proxy at lower levels of government.

Even simple meetings are less frequent in recent years. As late as 2003, State and Defense Department officials — albeit at the mid-grade deputy assistant secretary level — were permitted to meet regularly with senior Taiwanese officials including the foreign minister outside of Washington, D.C. That contact no longer takes place. At the highest levels, the U.S.-Taiwan relationship would have to get much closer to even describe it as “arms-length.” No cabinet-level officials have met their Taiwanese counterparts since the Clinton administration.

As for the Taiwan president, he traditionally has been permitted to enter the U.S. only during a “transit” to other countries. In the past, that so-called transit was in practice an opportunity for the Taiwan leader to meet distinguished Americans, make civic addresses, and otherwise be treated as a visiting dignitary. That policy, too, has decayed over the past several years. By 2006, through bureaucratic drift and a desire not to be too “provocative” given warming relations with Beijing, the U.S. offered only a brief stop in Alaska, which Mr. Chen declined. In January 2007, President Chen was permitted a short stop in San Francisco, but social, civic and press interactions were extremely limited.

Is this really the most effective approach toward the leader of a government we may have to shed American blood to defend? Might it not be better simply to acknowledge our unwillingness or inability to do what must be done to sustain our security commitment?

U.S. policy toward Taiwan may itself be provocative, but not because the U.S. seeks to do too much with Taipei. Instead, we appear uninterested in doing much at all to better understand the implications of our own declared policy. Of course, we do not owe Taiwan or any other country certainty about U.S. intentions. Strategic ambiguity is important and governments reserve that option, particularly with respect to the use of military power. What has evolved with Taiwan, though, is something quite different: Strategic avoidance of the unique challenges posed by maintaining a security commitment with a country with which we have no diplomatic relations.

This is a complex affair, not to be quickly or easily resolved. There are obvious first steps. U.S. Presidents frequently rely upon special envoys — formal or informal — to examine regional issues. For example, both Democratic and Republican Presidents have discovered sufficient U.S. interests in the Balkans, Western Sahara and Sudan to appoint distinguished Americans to address them.

But none of these matters had the potential to affect our strategic priorities as much as the U.S.-China-Taiwan nexus. A presidential envoy in this instance would not be without precedent. Former President Reagan relied upon trusted informal advisors, including National Security Advisor Bill Clark and Senator Paul Laxalt to serve as channels to former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. President Clinton followed this pattern and former Congressman Lee Hamilton also served as an envoy to Taiwan.

President Bush should consider assigning this matter to the attention of such an envoy. Someone with sufficient stature and political mien could open a window for the President into the three-party situation that now is not possible given the stunted inter-agency and diplomatic processes. This is no panacea. But it might help reduce the risk to our own credibility that stems from paying insufficient attention to security guarantees no one forced us to make.

President Bush and his national security team have remained commendably focused on a number of disparate challenges around the world. The President has shown he is prepared to bear any burden and pay any price in pursuit of democratic freedom in some of the unlikeliest places on the globe. At far less cost, a bit more transparency with a pro-U.S. democratic government that represents 23 million free people seems like something perhaps only he can achieve, given bureaucratic tendencies to the contrary.

Americans Want U.S. to Protect Taiwan

May 31, 2007 at 11:36 pm | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments


June 1 2007 Angus Reid Global Monitor

Many people in the United States believe their country should stand by Taiwan in case of a military confrontation with China, according to a poll by Zogby Interactive released by UPI. 53.5 per cent of respondents think the U.S. has a responsibility to defend Taiwan should it be attacked by China, while 36 per cent disagree.

Taiwan was formed in 1949 after the government of Chiang Kai-shek was forced out of China as Mao Zedong’s communists were gaining prominence. A series of democratic reforms implemented by Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui in the early 1990s allowed Taiwan’s residents to take part in free and fair elections. To this date, Mainland China considers Taiwan a “renegade province” and reserves the right to bring it under control.

In March 2005, legislators in China’s National People’s Congress passed the anti-secession law, which aims to prevent Taiwan’s independence. The legislation calls for the use of “non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On May 25, the Pentagon released a report titled “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, 2007”, in which it asserts the Asian country is engaged in “a sustained effort to develop the capability to interdict, at long ranges, aircraft carrier and expeditionary strike groups that might deploy to the Western Pacific.”

The report also explicitly says Beijing does not yet have “the military capability to accomplish with confidence its political objectives on (Taiwan), particularly when confronted with the prospect of U.S. intervention.”


As Mirror Images Emerge, Taiwan, China Can Reconcile

May 6, 2007 at 8:39 am | Posted in China, 經濟, 经济, Economics, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments


John C. Bersia, April 30 2007 Orlando Sentinel

Like bad Chinese food, the Beijing-Taipei flap over the 2008 Olympics torch relay leaves a funky, disappointing aftertaste. It is not what one should expect in connection with an event that celebrates human capability, spirited competition, collective pride and unity.

Ironically, the torch relay — advertised by China as the most inclusive in history — has ignited a firestorm of divisiveness more than a year before it is scheduled to light up the Olympics’ opening ceremony. Beijing wishes to run the torch through Taiwan as a continuation of its trek across parts of China, thus underscoring its claim to the island. Taipei seeks a route through third countries.

Whether this issue is resolved or not, the contentiousness between China and Taiwan — after nearly 60 years — has grown tiresome. No wonder some people throw their hands into the air and exclaim, “Why don’t they simply duke it out, and let the winner take all of China?”

Chinese leaders certainly appear prepared — and at times eager — for confrontation. The threat of military force lingers just behind their lips every time Taiwanese officials toy with notions of independence. But surely Beijing’s communist rulers know that an invasion of the island would fail, even if they managed to obliterate Taiwan. Most damaging, such action would deprive them of their only significant claim to legitimacy: Chinese economic strength.

If, because of war, China lost the ability to bring large numbers of have-nots to a higher standard of living each year, the Chinese people would stand up again — this time, with their pitchforks aimed directly at the leadership that supposedly liberated them in 1949. The Communist Party would die overnight.

Bear in mind that none of this discussion has considered the impact of China-Taiwan conflict and disruption on the regional and global economies. Clearly, this is not a civil spat that should be allowed to burn itself out.

So, what are the other options?

The tedious status quo, for one. Another would be for Taiwan to follow in the footsteps of Hong Kong and Macau, and end once and for all the artificial separation of China. Beijing would love that decision; indeed, it has dangled many incentives before Taipei to induce it to end the rift. Looking to the Hong Kong example, with a 50-year transitional agreement guaranteeing the district’s way of life, many analysts see opportunities for Taiwan. In fact, Taipei has the leverage to demand much more from such an arrangement.

It has little reason to take that route, though. After all, Taiwan occupies the higher ground in terms of its democratic government and free-market economy. China is still traveling down a sometimes herky-jerky road to reform. The controlling impulses of its moribund ideology hamper political development. Democratic practices are evident only at the village level. In addition, excessive state influence lingers over China’s economy, despite its power and numerous free-market elements.

Further, I do not buy the idea embraced by some that Taiwan might more effectively work to change China from the inside than it can in its current position.

I would prefer to see the opposite, that is, for China to join Taiwan, and have every expectation that reconciliation is possible later in this century. After all, Beijing and Taipei grow more interdependent with each passing year. Pressures for wider reform within China will not pause. Eventually, a “Big Taiwan” will rise on the mainland. At that point, when the two systems mirror one another, they will merge.

In the meantime, the key will be for sensible heads to prevail, particularly during moments of tension such as the spat over the Olympics. China and Taiwan must, at all costs, avoid sacrificing their vast mutual interests on the altar of their aging dispute.

Reunification is an option, but Mainland China must provide Taiwan sufficient motivations to do so. At its current rate of progress, it will be decades before “mirror images” emerge across the strait, especially if the CCP intends to hold on to power.

RAND: China Could Potentially Defeat U.S. in Conflict Over Taiwan

March 29, 2007 at 11:49 am | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment


Santa Monica, Mar. 29 2007 RAND

China could potentially defeat the United States in a future military conflict over Taiwan by using strategies designed to limit U.S. military access to the area, according to a report issued today by the RAND Corporation.

The report examines scenarios in which China might employ what are known as “antiaccess” strategies – actions that would impede the deployment of U.S. forces into a combat zone, limit the locations from which American forces could operate, or compel the U.S. military to conduct operations farther from the conflict than it would prefer.

RAND researchers have identified a number of measures that U.S. forces can take in order to neutralize possible antiaccess strategies. These include: deploying air and missile defense systems near critical facilities; moving vulnerable ships out of port at the first sign of conflict; and reducing vulnerabilities in communications and computer systems…

The study says potential Chinese antiaccess strategies include:

1. Pressuring American allies such as Japan to limit or deny the United States the use of bases on their territory in a conflict.

2. Striking or jamming information and computer systems to delay the deployment of U.S. military forces or to deny the United States access to information about enemy locations.

3. Disrupting U.S. logistics systems to prevent the timely delivery of supplies and delay the arrival of critical reinforcements.

4. Attacking air bases and ports to prevent or disrupt an influx of forces and supplies.

5. Attacking naval assets to limit the U.S. ability to launch aircraft from the sea.

“The net result of these strategies is that China could actually defeat the United States in a conflict — not in the traditional sense of destroying the U.S. military, but in the sense of China accomplishing its military and political objectives while preventing America from achieving some or all of its objectives,” Cliff said.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is well aware of its own shortcomings and the United States’ military superiority,” Cliff said. “Instead of engaging U.S. forces head-on, they would attempt to take advantage of what they perceive to be American weaknesses – including the need to deploy and operate forces thousands of miles from home…”

China Spy Case: Chi Mak

March 23, 2007 at 2:46 pm | Posted in China, 科技, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Technology, United States, 军事, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment


Josh Gerstein in San Francisco, Mar. 23 2007 The New York Sun

A senior engineer for a company with numerous American Navy contracts, Chi Mak, 66, is charged with attempting to smuggle designs for quiet submarines to China and with acting as an unregistered agent of China in America. Four other members of Mr. Mak’s family face similar charges and are expected to be tried separately at a later date.

The alleged ring was broken up in 2005 when agents intercepted two of the family members at Los Angeles airport preparing to board a flight to Hong Kong. According to the government, hidden in their carry-on bag, in a package of CDs for learning English, was a disk containing sensitive, encrypted data on quiet propulsion systems for submarines.

Mr. Mak, a naturalized American citizen born in China, has pleaded not guilty. “My client’s character is absolutely unblemished,” a defense attorney, Ronald Kaye, said.

A spokesman for the Office of the Counterintelligence Executive, Ross Feinstein, said China is considered one to have one of the world’s most active espionage programs, along with Russia, Iran, and Cuba. “China is at the top of our concerns,” Mr. Feinstein said…

Jurors are expected to see excerpts from audio and video surveillance of the suspects, including a camera placed over Mr. Mak’s dining room table. After a defense request, the government has agreed not to play for jurors certain inflammatory statements Mr. Mak allegedly made on the tapes, including claims that America brought terrorist strikes on itself and that North Korea has the right to develop nuclear weapons.

Jurors are expected to see excerpts from audio and video surveillance of the suspects, including a camera placed over Mr. Mak’s dining room table. After a defense request, the government has agreed not to play for jurors certain inflammatory statements Mr. Mak allegedly made on the tapes, including claims that America brought terrorist strikes on itself and that North Korea has the right to develop nuclear weapons. Judge Carney has ruled that jurors may hear that, decades ago, Mr. Mak recorded the comings and goings of American warships in Hong Kong harbor in a logbook he kept. Jurors also may hear about torn-up notes allegedly found in Mr. Mak’s home that prosecutors contend are a Chinese government shopping list for information on missile defense, artillery, and torpedo systems. The prosecution also may play a recording suggesting that Mr. Mak was part of “the red flower of North America,” a term prosecutors claim is code for a Chinese intelligence operation…

Chi Mak’s attitude towards the U.S. isn’t all that surprising. After all, he’s only a first generation immigrant. Imagine moving to a new country, hoping for a fulfilling life and living the American dream, but end up being stuck in middle management for most of one’s career and then blaming it on the corporate “glass ceiling.” I’m not sure if Mr. Mak fits this profile exactly if at all but those Chinese-Americans who do fall into this category often become rather bitter, especially when they compare their lives with those of their friends and family who stayed behind and prospered. Such individuals would be easy targets for recruitment by Chinese intelligence agencies. However, their motivation would be to prove their worthiness and bring meaning back to their lives rather than true patriotism.

Taiwan Tests ‘Brave Wind’ Cruise Missile

March 6, 2007 at 1:55 pm | Posted in China, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 4 Comments

Wendell Minnick in Taipei, Mar. 07 2007 DefenseNews.com

Taiwan reportedly test-launched a land-attack cruise missile (LACM), Hsiung Feng 2E (Brave Wind), at its Jiupeng Missile Test Range in Pingtung County on Taiwan’s southeast coast.

Lu Der-yeun, defense correspondent for the United Daily News, based here, wrote the original report. The report states that the tests were conducted but did not specify how many missiles were tested. With a reported range of 1,000 kilometers and armed with a 400-kilogram warhead, the new missile will be able to strike as far north as Shanghai.

Taiwan reportedly plans to build 500 Hsiung Feng (HF)-2E LACMs to be based on mobile launchers along the west coast facing China, and there are plans for a ship- and air-launched version. It is also possible that the HF-2E will be based on the outer island of Penghu, off Taiwan’s southwest coast, allowing it strike deeper inside China…

A Taiwan military officer said the U.S. State Department had been pressuring Taiwan to kill the LACM program for more than a year. However, China has more than 800 Dong Feng (DF)-11 and DF–15 short-range ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan, so Taipei is unlikely to stop the program. In May 2005, National Defense Minister Lee Jye announced that CIST was developing missiles that could strike China. Lee reminded the public that it was consistent with Taiwan’s “active defense” policy.

“Politicians want this as their chip to deal with Beijing. If Beijing attacks or invades Taiwan, they think they can have the HF-2E as a strike-back force,” a former Taiwan defense official said. A U.S. defense official said the ultimate goal is deterrence…

The best defense is a good offense.

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