HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Taiwan Official Reminds US About Growing Military Buildup Of China

Washington: Taiwan's top China policy chief urged the United States to strongly remind Beijing against using any military force on Taiwan, saying China's defense buildup was casting a huge shadow on the island.

Joseph Wu, chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, said Beijing's military buildup opposite the island was a critical concern to Taipei but that Washington was not paying close attention to it due to the "war on terror" and other distractions.

"The United States has to continuously make it very clear to China never to use force against Taiwan," Wu, who heads the island's top China policy planning body, said on a visit to Washington Tuesday.

"We hope that kind of point can be stressed in a more clear, more convincing and more forceful way to the Chinese leaders so that they don't threaten Taiwan the way they do right now," he said.

China has deployed 784 ballistic and 36 cruise missiles aimed at the island, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian said in Taipei recently, adding that the number of missiles was rising at the rate of 120 per year.

These could paralyze Taiwan's communications and transportation and command centers in a 10-hour bombardment, Taiwan's defense ministry says.

A Pentagon report has said China is building up its military at a pace that is tipping the balance against Taiwan and could pose a credible threat to other armies in the region.

"We cannot afford a situation where the Chinese side think that they can take full advantage of the weakness in Taiwan ... and they can take Taiwan over," Wu warned at a Washington forum. "They might do it.

"Of course, as decision makers in Taiwan, we don't want to see that kind of thing happen and I think it is the same calculation on the part of the Bush administration," he said.

Wu also emphasized the need for Taiwan to beef up its military might.

Taiwan defense capability should "continue to be built up so that there is no opportunity for the Chinese side to think that they can take Taiwan over in a very short period of time," he said.

Wu's visit came amid reports that Chinese military officials had pressed the Bush administration and the Pentagon to halt arms sales to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.

The Washington Times reported last week that President Bush had been advised to deny new sales of F-16 jets to Taiwan by his security staff to avoid upsetting China.

It would also signal disapproval with Taipei for its failure to procure US submarines, surveillance aircraft and missile defenses offered for sale since 2001, the report said. Taiwan's government confirmed recently that it planned to buy up to 66 new F-16C/D models to replace F-5s in a bid to counter China's continued arms build-up. The deal was estimated to be worth 3.1 billion dollars.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has said it is prepared to use force if the island declares formal independence. The two split in 1949 after a civil war.

The United States is obliged by law to offer Taiwan a means of self-defense if its security is threatened. It is the leading arms supplier to the island despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

Source(©): P. Parameswaran, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org