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MND reports China's military rapidly growing

MND reports China's military rapidly growing

Taiwan's national defense was dealt a major blow yesterday as Minister of National Defense Lee Chieh said he was told by a U.S. official that U.S. President George W. Bush had suspended the sale F16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan.
In a report to the Legislature's National Defense Committee, Lee said that Taiwan's request to purchase 66 F16C/D fighter aircraft made in July had been suspended by the Bush Administration because the U.S. saw Taiwan as having no comprehensive and continuous plans for arms purchases.
U.S. impatient
The U.S. has been impatient over the inability of Taiwan to commit to a package of three weapons systems that was offered by the Bush administration in April 2001.
Lee said, however, that if the arms procurement package were to be approved by the Legislature this year, he believed the request to purchase the F16 aircraft would be approved by the United States.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Shen Fa-hui contented that the process leading up to the request for the F16s was sloppy because a budget for the aircraft was decided before receiving a quotation from the U.S.
But Lee said the process was the same it has always been, and that the budget was drawn up after consulting relevant quotations the U.S. gave to Greece and Pakistan.
Aside from delivering the news on the F16s, Lee also stated that China's military threat had grown more serious.
Lee noted that China had continued to expand its military budget due to recent economic growth, with this year's US$35 billion budget 14.7 percent higher than last year's. If hidden budgets are included, China's military total budget for this year is more than US$100 billion - more than ten times of that of Taiwan, Lee said.
Threat to regional stability
Because of its active deployment of high-tech equipment and weapons and its strengthened joint operations training, the minister said, China has the ability to effectively control the sea territory west of the First Island Chain, which starts from the Kurile Islands in the north to include Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Sunda Islands in the south. According to reports by the U.S. and Japan, both countries are worried that China's military expansion will destroy regional and cross-strait security and stability.
A report presented to the Legislature yesterday by the Defense Ministry said that China has deployed 800 missiles along its southeastern coast, adding around 75 to 100 more missiles every year. Over the last three years, the number of missiles China has tested has grown from around 20 to more than 40 each year, and that China's overall offensive capabilities have gradually reached a level comparable to that of the U.S. and other advanced countries in Europe, the report said.
The report indicates that in the area of sea and air combat capability, China has recently built about 50 next-generation fighters, bringing its total number to close to 500, about 200 more than the number Taiwan possesses. It has also taken possession of 12 K-class submarines and has sped up the testing process for nuclear-powered submarines, with more than 30 high-performance submarines already in its fleet.
China has deployed most of its new aircraft and navel vessels along its southeastern coast to form a pin down posture from the north and the south and has possessed comprehensive joint operations capabilities to deter other forces from interfering in the cross-strait situation.
In the intelligence gathering area, China deployed a Synthetic Aperture Radar reconnaissance satellite early this year, which possesses a round the clock reconnaissance capability, and has deployed new systems for battle management/command, control, communications.
The report also pointed out that China has focused on the situation in the Taiwan Strait to step up its military exercises, and that more than 200,000 soldiers have underwent rigid amphibious training each year for the last five years.


Updated : 2021-10-19 05:06 GMT+08:00