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

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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.”

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China’s Auto Industry Takes On the World

March 30, 2007 at 8:14 pm | Posted in China, 科技, 經濟, 经济, 美国, 美國, Economics, News, Technology, United States, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

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Dexter Roberts, Mar. 28 2007 BusinessWeek

A little piece of England came to China this week. On Mar. 27, the classic British brand MG Rover began production in Nanjing, in Jiangsu Province, with 1.8-liter and 2.5-liter MG7 sedans and a 1.8-liter MG TF roadster rolling off a Chinese factory line. Next up will be other MG nameplates with engine sizes ranging from 1.1 to 1.6 liters, says Nanjing Automobile Group, the new owner of the once-iconic British brand. Unlike other Chinese auto companies that have either partnered with foreign auto companies or developed their own brands, Nanjing Auto is taking “a third path” aimed at creating an internationally competitive auto player, said Chairman Wang Haoliang on Mar. 27, according to the China Daily. The company has ambitious plans to spend $2 billion, which include the opening of a factory in Ardmore, Okla., next year in a bid to crack the world’s biggest auto market…

And the Chinese car companies are not content to stay at home. Hefei (Anhui Province)-based Chery, which produces the popular minicar the QQ on the mainland, recently signed a deal with DaimlerChrysler that will see it produce Dodge-brand vehicles for the U.S. and Western Europe markets. Shenyang-based Brilliance Automotive, which has a joint venture producing BMWs with the German company in northeastern China, showed three new models at the Geneva Auto Show this month. Those included a sporty sedan called the BS6, a BS4 compact, and a two-door BS3 coupe, all of which it aims to sell in Europe…

Despite those inroads abroad, cracking developed Western markets certainly won’t be easy. One huge challenge will be breaking into distribution channels and convincing overseas customers to trust Chinese autos. Chinese car companies have an often-deserved reputation for being more concerned with cost cutting than building high-quality, innovative vehicles. “The weak foundation of the Chinese car industry still makes it difficult for China to produce a car of decent quality and safety level,” cautions Beijing-based auto analyst Jia Xinguang.

Indeed, even succeeding at home is a challenge in the highly competitive, cutthroat Chinese auto market. So Nanjing Auto has asked Beijing for loans and subsidies totaling close to $400 million to fund its big plans to sell the Rover in China and overseas. Whether or not Beijing provides that major handout, though, MG Rovers will soon be tooling the roads of China.

Sustainable competitive advantage. U.S. Consumers would be attracted by the relatively cheap prices of Chinese automobiles, but what else can these cars offer to differentiate themselves from other established brands?

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

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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

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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.

China Authorizes Intel to Build Chip Plant in Northeastern City

March 13, 2007 at 12:27 pm | Posted in China, 科技, 經濟, 经济, 美国, 美國, Economics, News, Politics, Technology, United States, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 6 Comments

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Jason Dean in Beijing & Don Clark in San Francisco, Mar. 13 2007 WSJ

China’s government said it approved plans by Intel Corp. to build an advanced semiconductor plant in the country, an project that — if it proceeds — would mark a major step for China’s efforts to attract high-technology investment.

An Intel fab would be a triumph for China in its decades-long campaign to develop a semiconductor industry. The government hopes that foreign investment will promote the development of domestic chip companies, enabling China to eventually wean itself from expensive imported technology…

The U.S. Department of Commerce sets complex restrictions governing exports to China of advanced equipment for making chips. Some of the rules require several government agencies to review and approve exports of manufacturing gear that can make chips with dimensions of 180 nanometers or less. An Intel factory with 90-nanometer circuitry would be two generations of production technology beyond those limits…

For Intel, whose chips are mainly used in personal computers, a fab in China would put it closer to one of the most important markets for its products. China is now the world’s second-biggest market for personal computers after the U.S. by unit sales, as well as the place where many PCs are manufactured for markets outside China…

Out of all seriousness, I think there’s a very simple solution to Intel’s problems described above. Build the plant in Taiwan.

Most of Intel’s chips are used for personal computers, which are for the most part manufactured and assembled in China. However, Intel must also be aware that most of its customers within China who manufacture and assemble these personal computers are foreign owned, namely by Taiwanese companies, such as Foxconn, Quanta, Wistron, Compal, and others. Typically, these Taiwanese companies rely on their subsidiaries in China to provide the necessary labor while key components are manufactured in Taiwan and exported to China. To reduce costs, Intel can easily make arrangements with these Taiwanese companies to have its chips shipped to China along with those key components mentioned above.

Most importantly, having the plant in Taiwan would not be viewed by politicians as a threat to the United States since the two countries are implicit allies when it comes to potential conflicts with China. Furthermore, Intel would not have to run the risk of aiding in the development of potential competitors since Taiwan already has champion chip makers, such as TSMC and UMC. Lastly, Taiwan’s better structured and enforced IPR would better protect Intel’s investments and guarantee its longterm success.

Taiwanese, Canadian, and U.S. Runners Cross the Sahara Desert

February 22, 2007 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Africa, Canada, 美国, 美國, News, Taiwan, United States, 台灣, 台湾, 新聞, 新闻 | Leave a comment

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Taipei, Feb. 22 2007 Yahoo! News/AFP

A team of three ultra-marathon runners, including Kevin Lin from Taiwan, have completed a 7,500 kilometers (4,580 miles) trek across the Sahara desert in 111 days, reports said.

Lin, as well as Charlie Engle of the United States and Ray Zahab of Canada, arrived at Suez Canal on Tuesday after departing from western Africa, the China Times and Liberty Times said.

The trio began their run from Senegal, and passed through Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and ended in Egypt, the papers said…

“All I want to do right now is lie down and have a good sleep,” Lin, one of Asia’s best-known endurance athletes, was quoted as saying.

A documentary of the epic run has been made with Hollywood star Matt Damon narrating and Oscar-winner James Moll directing.

林義傑說:「應該這麼說,這不是我的驕傲,而是台灣的驕傲,人類首度成功橫越大撒哈拉沙漠的三位成員中就有一位台灣人,這表示台灣人有世界上幾乎所有國家都辦不到的能耐。」

Japan Anger at U.S. Sex Slave Bill

February 19, 2007 at 11:35 pm | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, Indonesia, Japan, News, Philippines, Politics, South Korea, Taiwan, United States, World War II, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 日本, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

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Feb. 19 2007 BBC News

Japan has expressed its displeasure at a resolution before the US Congress calling on Tokyo to apologise for the country’s use of sex slaves in wartime.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso said the resolution was not based on facts.

Sponsored by several members of the US House of Representatives, the proposed text urges Tokyo to formally resolve the issue of so-called “comfort women”.

Japan admits its army forced women to be sex slaves during World War II but has rejected compensation claims.

Historians believe at least 200,000 young women captured during World War II were forced to serve in Japanese army brothels.

A large number of the victims – who were known as comfort women – were Korean, but they also included Chinese, Philippine and Indonesian women…

Minister Aso insists the resolution was not based on facts. But exactly what kind of “facts” must be presented to the Japanese government for it to acknowledge the need to issue a formal apology? Historians have collected photographs, official wartime documents and testimonies from both comfort women throughout Asia and former Japanese soldiers, which all support the accusations made by these comfort women. Interestingly, thousands of miles away in Europe, similar evidence with regard to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews were more than sufficient in convincing the world that the Holocaust took place and thus prompted Germany to issue a formal apology to the Jews. Evidently, what Japan is most concerned of is its pride, both as a nation and the pride of its people. However, given the ongoing tension between Japan and its neighboring countries, it should by now recognize that it must follow Germany’s example in order to become truly accepted by the global community.

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