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Thread: China threat?

  1. #11

    Gates says China's PLA may be trying to thwart ties

    Adam Entous


    Thu Jun 3, 2010 11:45am EDT

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks to the media aboard a military aircraft enroute to Singapore, June 3, 2010.
    Credit: Reuters/Carolyn Kaster/Pool

    SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday he believed the Chinese military was thwarting efforts to improve military-to-military relations in an apparent split with the country's political leadership.

    China scaled back military ties with the United States after the Obama administration notified Congress in January of a plan to sell Taiwan up to $6.4 billion worth of arms.

    In what some American officials took as a snub, China turned down a proposed visit by Gates aimed at mending fences during his trip to Asia this week.

    U.S. officials have long described China as a "hard target" for intelligence-gathering. Gates, a former CIA director, acknowledged that the Pentagon was having difficulty reading the intentions of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

    "My opinion (is) that the PLA is significantly less interested in developing this relationship than the political leadership of the country," Gates told reporters on his plane as he arrived in Singapore to attend a major security conference.

    "I'm disappointed that the PLA leadership has not seen the same potential benefits from this kind of a military-to-military relationship as their own leadership and the United States seemed to think would be a benefit," he said.

    Gates is scheduled to meet his Japanese and South Korean counterparts but not a Chinese delegation, led by a general, at the summit in Singapore.

    Some U.S. officials saw the friction with China as particularly worrisome given heightened tensions in the region after the United States and South Korea concluded that North Korea was behind the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

    Seoul wants the U.N. Security Council to censure North Korea for allegedly torpedoing the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors. It was the deadliest military incident between the two Koreas since the 1950-1953 Korean War.

    But Beijing, which is North Korea's only major ally and which fought alongside the North in the Korean War, has declined publicly to join international condemnation of Pyongyang, saying it is still assessing the evidence.


    Gates said his attendance at the Singapore summit was meant to convey the message that "we are a Pacific power and intend to remain a power in the Pacific."

    He said Washington and Seoul were considering "shows of force," including anti-submarine exercises, to deter behavior by North Korea he termed "even more unpredictable than usual."

    "I think having a conversation with the Chinese about North Korea would be helpful," Gates said. "But we're not interested if they're not interested."

    Some U.S. military officials are concerned the international community's failure to respond in a forceful way to the sinking of the Cheonan will not only embolden North Korea but will undermine U.S.-led efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program.

    "They can't be looked at in isolation," one U.S. military official said of North Korea and Iran.

    In both cases, China has at times stood in the way of U.S. efforts to impose tougher penalties, officials said.

    Gates and other senior U.S. officials have urged China to maintain military-to-military contacts partly as a hedge against misunderstandings or accidents that could lead to confrontations.

    He said nearly all of the aspects of the relationship between Washington and Beijing were moving forward "with the sole exception of the military-to-military relationship."

    The goal was a relationship that "doesn't move in fits and starts and isn't affected by every change in the political weather," Gates said. He described the PLA as "reluctant to engage with us in a broad level."

    Gates acknowledged that arms sales to Taiwan may be part of the reason for the PLA's posture, but he said such sales went back decades and should not have an impact on ties.

    "It has not inhibited the development of the political and economic relationship," Gates said of growing interdependence between the U.S. and Chinese economies.

    "If they want to single out the military side of the relationship as the place where they want to play this out, then so be it," he said.

    Some Pentagon strategists have voiced alarm at what they see as China's faster-than-expected military build-up, from powerful anti-ship missiles to an advanced combat jet that may rival the premier U.S. fighter, Lockheed Martin Corp's F-22 Raptor, within eight years.

    Gates has sought to play down the risk, arguing that the U.S. military enjoys a lopsided advantage in fighters, warships and other big-ticket hardware. He described an open military dialogue between China and the United States as constructive and helpful.

    "It helps to prevent miscalculations and misunderstandings and creates opportunities for cooperation," Gates said.

    (Editing by Paul Tait)

  2. #12

    Gates: U.S.-China Military-to-Military Ties Need Work

    (Source: U.S Department of Defence; issued June 3, 2010)

    SINGAPORE --- The military-to-military aspect of U.S. relations with China has lagged behind progress in other areas and falls short of what the leaders of both countries have said they want, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

    Shortly before arriving in Singapore to attend the “Shangri-La Dialogue” Asia security conference, Gates told reporters traveling with him that he had hoped to visit China while he was in the region, but that Chinese officials said it isn’t a good time.

    He said he’d heard rumors for weeks that the potential visit wasn’t going to happen, but that he’d waited for formal word from the Chinese during the recent security and economic dialogue before the trip was removed from plans for his itinerary.

    “I did not want to take a step that made it look like I was cancelling the visit,” he said, “and so I waited until we got something more official from the Chinese side.”

    Gates said he believes a more-open dialogue with the Chinese about military modernization programs and about the two nations’ strategic views of the world would be constructive.

    “We have had such a dialogue with Russia for over 30 years,” he said, “and I think it helps to prevent miscalculations and misunderstandings and creates opportunities for cooperation. So I’m disappointed that the [People’s Liberation Army] leadership has not seen the same potential benefits from this kind of a military-to-military relationship as their own leadership and the United States seem to think would be of benefit. So we’ll just wait and see.”

    Asked whether he believes China is trying to make a point about U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Gates pointed out that those arms sales have been going on for 30 years and were part of the process toward normalization of relations between the two countries.

    “Central to our ability to go forward with normalization in 1979,” he said, “was the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act, which mandated that the United States maintain the defenses of Taiwan, and we have sold weapons to Taiwan ever since.

    “This is not new news to the Chinese,” he continued. “And the sales under the Bush administration and under the Obama administration in both cases were carefully calibrated to keep them on the defensive side. So it depends on whether the Chinese want to make a big deal of it or not, but the reality is these arms sales go back to the beginning of the relationship, and were one of the conditions that came through the Congress as part of the normalization process.”

    Gates said the arms sales have not inhibited development of the political and economic relationships between the United States and China.

    “If they want to single out the military side of the relationship as the place where they want to play this out, then so be it,” the secretary said. “But it has not impeded the development of the relationship in other areas.”

    Gates noted that President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao have advocated a “sustainable and reliable” relationship between their nations’ militaries.

    “I think they mean a relationship that doesn’t move in fits and starts and isn’t affected by every change in the political weather,” he said, “and that’s where I would like to see this relationship go.”

    The secretary said he believes the People’s Liberation Army could do more to advance its military-to-military relationship with the United States.

    “I would just express it as my opinion that the PLA is significantly less interested in developing this relationship than the political leadership in the country,” he said.


  3. #13

    At Shangri-La Dialogue, Gates Challenges China To Improve Military Relations


    Published: 6 Jun 2010 10:19

    SINGAPORE - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has cautioned that China's continued refusal to restart military-to-military exchanges was counterproductive.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates walks to the podium June 5 to deliver a speech during the International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit in Singapore. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE)

    China cancelled exchanges after the U.S. released a $6 billion arms package to Taiwan in January.

    We need "sustained and reliable military-to-military contacts at all levels that reduce miscommunication, misunderstanding and miscalculation," he said. "There is a real cost to any absence of military-to-military relations."

    Gates made the comments June 5 in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 9th Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue.

    In November, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao made a "commitment to advance sustained and reliable military-to-military relations."

    In October, during a visit to Washington by Chinese Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, Gates and Xu agreed to "seven points of consensus" on expanding and improving military cooperation and exchanges.

    These included high-level mutual visits and exchanges of military officials, cooperation on humanitarian missions, broader communication on land forces and maritime security, and exchanges of junior officers. There was also an agreement to conduct a joint air-sea search and rescue exercise.

    Regrettably, there has been no progress in recent months, Gates said. "Chinese officials have broken off interactions between our militaries, citing U.S. arms sales to Taiwan as the rationale," he said, adding that it made "little sense" to repeatedly interrupt dialogue and exchanges to the "vagaries of political weather."

    Gates said arms sales to Taiwan "are nothing new" and the U.S. had "demonstrated in a very public way that we do not support independence for Taiwan."

    "We strongly encourage the cross-Strait improvement in relations and perhaps a time will come when this issue will go away because of those improved relations, but we will maintain our obligations" under the Taiwan Relations Act, he said.

    China and Taiwan are preparing for the signing of a major economic agreement, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, allowing for greater trade and investment ties.

    China has also done nothing to stop the military buildup "largely focused on Taiwan," Gates said, and that arms sales to Taiwan were in response to that threat.

    Holding military-to-military relations "hostage" will not change U.S. policy toward Taiwan, he said.

    Taking 'acquiescence' for granted?

    "Too often times, American policy makers tend to take for granted Chinese acquiescence on U.S. arms sales to Taiwan," said one Chinese academic source, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "And that is something that has become increasingly counterproductive, if not dangerous, as the shifting balance of power, perceived or real, between China and the U.S. has unsettled the equilibrium of the game."

    Defense analysts indicate China has roughly 1,300 short-range ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan and is engaged in a major military build-up that includes new submarines, surface ships, fighter aircraft and long-range missiles.

    Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, director general, strategic studies department, National Defense University, directly challenged Gates, saying that arms sales to Taiwan "hurt China's core interests" and that the U.S. treated China an "enemy."

    "I would like to state for the record that the U.S. does not consider China an enemy," Gates said in response.

    "The irony is the odds of a conflict over Taiwan are declining due to improvements in cross-Strait ties between Beijing and Taipei," said Jonathan Pollack, a China specialist at the US Naval War College. "And as the Taiwan scenario goes away, the Chinese military is looking beyond Taiwan for new goals and missions."

    Two schools of thought

    Zhuang Jianzhong, vice director of the Center for National Strategy Studies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said Gates' speech indicated a strong desire for positive military relations between the two, but there are "two opposing voices in China, the hawks and the doves, debating the issue of military exchanges."

    "It's not a generational debate, but a mix," he said. "Though I think that as time passes more reasonable voices will prevail sooner or later and military exchanges will be begin again."

    There is clearly a division within the Chinese delegation visiting the Shangri-La Dialogue. A Chinese government official said military-to-military exchanges would "soon be back on track."

    Pollack said China is "not set up for crisis management" and there has been no "real war" since the 1979 Chinese invasion of Vietnam.

    "Many in the Chinese government see the risks, but the People's Liberation Army is a very conservative institution." On crisis management, Pollack said, "there is an absence of coordination in the system."

    However, China's military has building up more experience dealing with other militaries recently during anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden. "With each deployment they become more confident," he said. But the "potential for trouble goes up as the lack of communication between each other drops," Pollack said.

    Continued communication

    Retired U.S. Adm. William Owens is a major advocate of improved military relations between China and the U.S.

    "The military-to-military dialogue is not very good right now. A huge amount of goodness would come from continued dialogue," he said.

    Owens, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton administration, created the Sanya Initiative to foster better understanding between the Chinese and U.S. defense community.

    The initiative brings together retired Chinese and U.S. military officials for informal discussions on how to improve understanding.

    Owens wants to "get past the talking points and build mutual friendships that last." It is the "personal interface that matters."

    Owens said that the Hong Kong-based China-United States Exchange Foundation, a non-profit, non-government organization, backs the Sanya Initiative. The first meeting was on Hainan Island in 2008 and the second in Hawaii in 2009. A third is planned in China later this year, he said.

    Critics of Owens have questioned his motives, but Chinese and U.S. delegates at the Shangri-La Dialogue said continued dialogue at any level might be needed to stop an incident from spinning out of control.

    A U.S. government official at the Shangri-La Dialogue said China had not "answered the hot line" during previous crises.

    The U.S. Defense Department and China's Ministry of National Defense installed a defense telephone link in 2008. During the late 1990s an executive-level hot line was installed between the White House and Zhongnanhai, the Beijing complex that serves as the Communist Party headquarters, in response to the 1996 Taiwan Strait missile crisis.

    In 2009, Chinese ships in the South China Sea harassed two U.S. Navy survey ships, Impeccable and Victorious. In 2001, a U.S. intelligence aircraft, an EP-3 Aries, collided with a Chinese fighter and was forced to land at Hainan Island.

    In both cases the Chinese did not answer the "hot line," said the U.S. government source. One Chinese delegate at the Shangri-La Dialogue said Beijing did not answer the phone because officials "were angry" and China "expressed its anger by not answering."

    Chinese delegates at Shangri-La repeatedly stated the U.S. must discontinue surveillance missions in the South China Sea.

    Gates said the South China Sea is an area of "growing concern."

    "Our policy is clear: it is essential that stability, freedom of navigation, and free and unhindered economic development be maintained," he said. "We do not take sides on any competing sovereignty claims, but we oppose the use of force and action that hinder freedom of navigation."


    ■ April 1, 2001: A Chinese J-8 fighter collides with a U.S. EP-3E Aries intelligence aircraft near Hainan Island. The 24-member crew was detained until April 11.

    ■ October 2006: A Chinese submarine surfaced near the USS Kitty Hawk carrier group during exercises near Okinawa.

    ■ March 4, 2009: Chinese fishing boats and maritime patrol vessels harassed the U.S. Navy survey ship Victorious. A second incident occurred in May with same vessel.

    ■ March 8, 2009: Chinese fishing boats and maritime patrol vessels near Hainan Island harassed the U.S. Navy survey ship Impeccable.

    ■ June 11, 2009: A Chinese submarine collided with a sonar array being towed by the USS John McCain near the Subic Bay, Philippines.

  4. #14

    In Chinese admiral's outburst, a lingering distrust of U.S.

    By John Pomfret
    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010


    On May 24 in a vast meeting room inside the grounds of the state guesthouse at Diaoyutai in Beijing, Rear Adm. Guan Youfei of the People's Liberation Army rose to speak.

    Known among U.S. officials as a senior "barbarian handler," which means that his job is to deal with foreigners, not lead troops, Guan faced about 65 American officials, part of the biggest delegation the U.S. government has ever sent to China.

    Everything, Guan said, that is going right in U.S. relations with China is because of China. Everything, he continued, that is going wrong is the fault of the United States. Guan accused the United States of being a "hegemon" and of plotting to encircle China with strategic alliances. The official saved the bulk of his bile for U.S. arms sales to China's nemesis, Taiwan -- Guan said these prove that the United States views China as an enemy.

    U.S. officials have since depicted Guan's three-minute jeremiad as an anomaly. A senior U.S. official traveling on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's plane back to the United States dismissed it, saying it was "out of step" with the rest of the two-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue. And last week in Singapore, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sought to portray not just Guan, but the whole of the People's Liberation Army, as an outlier intent on blocking better ties with Washington while the rest of China's government moves ahead.

    But interviews in China with a wide range of experts, Chinese officials and military officers indicate that Guan's rant -- for all its discomfiting bluster -- actually represents the mainstream views of the Chinese Communist Party, and that perhaps the real outliers might be those in China's government who want to side with the United States.

    Guan's speech underscored that 31 years after the United States and China normalized relations, there remains a deep distrust in Beijing. That the United States is trying to keep China down is a central part of the party's catechism and a foundation of its claims to legitimacy.

    More broadly, many Chinese security experts and officials view the Obama administration's policy of encouraging Chinese participation in solving the world's problems -- including climate change, the global financial crisis and the security challenges in Iran and North Korea -- not as attempts to elevate China into the ranks of global leadership but rather as a scheme to enmesh it in a paralyzing web of commitments.

    "Admiral Guan was representing what all of us think about the United States in our hearts," a senior Chinese official, who deals with the United States regularly, said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with a reporter. "It may not have been politically correct, but it wasn't an accident."

    "It's silly to talk about factions when it comes to relations with the United States," said a general in the PLA who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. "The army follows the party. Do you really think that Guan did this unilaterally?"

    China's fear of the United States was very much on display this past weekend during the Shangri-La Dialogue, where Gates and his Chinese counterparts clashed repeatedly throughout the program.

    Gates said it was unnecessary for the PLA to hold the military relationship hostage because U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are, "quite frankly, old news." The United States has provided military assistance to Taiwan since 1949, when the Nationalist government of China fled to the island after the Communist victory on the mainland; this assistance did not stop when Washington normalized relations with Beijing in 1979.

    "You, the Americans, are taking China as the enemy," countered Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu. Zhu rose to prominence in China in 2005 after he warned that if the United States came to Taiwan's defense in a war with China, Beijing would abandon its "no first use" doctrine on nuclear weapons and attack the United States.

    In January, Washington announced a $6.4 billion arms package for Taiwan, prompting China to downgrade its military ties with the United States. China's stance on the issue is part of a concerted campaign to change a foundation of U.S. policy in the region -- its security relationship with Taiwan. At the very least, Chinese officials said, they want the Obama administration to reiterate a commitment it made in a joint communique with China in 1982 to decrease arms sales to Taiwan.

    The U.S. framing of Guan's speech and the entire PLA as being out of step with the times is significant, analysts said, because the Obama administration could fall into a trap of expecting more from China than it can deliver. On the plane back to the United States, for example, U.S. officials predicted that despite Guan's outburst, China would welcome Gates and that it would also begin to side with South Korea against North Korea following the release of a report in Seoul implicating the regime of Kim Jong Il in the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship on March 26. China did neither, and interviews with PLA officers indicate that the military is highly suspicious of the South Korean report.

    U.S. officials have also expressed the hope that China would work harder to press Iran, for example, to engage in talks on its nuclear weapons program. The United States also wants China's cooperation on slapping new sanctions on Tehran. China has shown more flexibility on this issue, but it is still unclear whether it will ultimately support sanctions.

    Chinese analysts say the Obama administration ignores what China calls its "core national interests" -- especially U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan -- at its peril.

    "For years, China has opposed arms sales to Taiwan among other things, but we were never strong enough to do anything about it," said Cui Liru, the president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank run by the Ministry of State Security. "But our national strength has grown. And it is time that the United States pay attention."

    "This is not just a talking point that can be dismissed by your government," he continued. "It is something that must be dealt with or it will seriously damage ties."

  5. #15

    The Limitations of China’s Defense Industry

    I thought that Russian military official’s slapdown of the Chinese knock off of their Su-33 carried based fighter (Chinese designation J-15) was really interesting. Now, as I mentioned yesterday, this could all just be posturing for the global arms market, a bit of tainting the competition if you will.

    Or, it could just be public griping over the Chinese stealing intellectual property from Russian aircraft builder Sukhoi. But then again, there is not much of a global market for carrier based fighters. Also, what the Russian official said about shortcomings in China’s aerospace industry resonates with what I’ve seen from other sources.

    This 2005 RAND report, Modernizing China’s Military, though a bit dated, is one of the more analytically rigorous assessments of China’s defense industry that I’ve been able to find. Key sections:

    “The limitations of China’s defense industries are reflected in the long production cycles for major defense systems. China’s JH-7 (FBC-1) fighter-bombers and J-10 (F-10) multirole aircraft, its most advanced indigenously produced military aircraft, were both under development for two decades. The JH-7 only recently entered into service for the PLA Navy (PLAN), even though it was first designed in the early 1970s. Despite the very long development times involved, the project is still dependent on jet engines imported from Britain—China has been unable to produce the engine on its own. The J-10 has just entered series production despite the fact that the program was initiated in the early 1980s, and the design is largely derived from Israel’s canceled Lavi fighter program (which in turn was based on U.S. F-16 technology).

    Other sectors of China’s defense industry have exhibited similar, though perhaps not as acute, weaknesses as the aircraft industry. For most of the 1980s and 1990s, China produced no heavy naval cruisers or multirole destroyers with advanced air defense or antisubmarine systems. Until recently, China’s newest classes of surface ships were produced in very small numbers, showed few significant design innovations, and relied on imported equipment for critical subsystems, weapons, and sensor suites. Even China’s missile sector, which is often heralded as a “pocket of excellence,” does not inspire awe. The solid-fuel ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles for which it has made its reputation are comparable to systems fielded in the West in the 1960s and 1970s.”
    If anybody out there knows of more recent assessments please do pass any and all along.

    – Greg Grant

    Read more: http://defensetech.org/#ixzz0qMskqDBH

  6. #16

    The Russian slapdown mentioned above is here.............


  7. #17

    Ratcheting Up Rhetoric Towards China; South China Sea Emerging Hot Spot

    There has been mounting frustration among the Obama administration and the military’s top leadership over China’s failure to do something, anything, about the North Korean lunacy; that frustration is now publicly coming out in the wake of the North’s sinking of the South Korean ship Cheonan and the sound of crickets from Beijing.

    Last night, speaking at the Asia Society dinner in Washington, DC, Joint Chiefs chair Adm. Mike Mullen said he was “dismayed” at Beijing’s failure to put any real pressure on North Korea.

    Then Mullen went further, questioning the motives behind China’s military modernization:

    “[T]heir heavy investments of late in modern, expeditionary maritime and air capabilities seems oddly out of step with their stated goal of territorial defense. Every nation has a right to defend itself, and to spend as it sees fit for that purpose. But a gap as wide as what seems to be forming between China’s stated intent and its military programs leaves me more than curious about the end result. Indeed, I have moved from being curious to being genuinely concerned.”
    Defense Secretary Robert Gates has also upped the rhetoric on Chinese military adventurism in Asia. We linked to this International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) brief on recent, and aggressive, PLA Navy operations and exercises in the South China Sea which territorial and fishing disputes with Vietnam. On a number of occasions, PLA ships have seized Vietnamese fishermen.

    Gates doesn’t like what he sees. Two years ago, while speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, Gates had this to say about freedom of movement in the South China Sea:

    “[W]e welcomed back in the mid-1990s moves toward a “code of conduct” among states with competing territorial and resource claims in South China Sea. We stressed then, as we do today, that we do not favor one claim, or one claimant country, over another. We urged then, as we do today, the maintenance of a calm and non-assertive environment in which contending claims may be discussed and, if possible, resolved. All of us in Asia must ensure that our actions are not seen as pressure tactics, even when they coexist beside outward displays of cooperation.”
    Compare those comments to what Gates said at the same venue, IISS, in the same locale, Singapore, just last week:

    “[T]he South China Sea is an area of growing concern. This sea is not only vital to those directly bordering it, but to all nations with economic and security interests in Asia. Our policy is clear: it is essential that stability, freedom of navigation, and free and unhindered economic development be maintained. We do not take sides on any competing sovereignty claims, but we do oppose the use of force and actions that hinder freedom of navigation. We object to any effort to intimidate U.S. corporations or those of any nation engaged in legitimate economic activity.”
    Might not seem like much, but in diplomatic messaging terms between great powers, there are lines being publicly drawn.

    – Greg Grant

    Read more: http://defensetech.org/2010/06/10/ra...#ixzz0qSTYOy35

  8. #18

    Taiwan Deploys Sky Bow Strike Missile on Dongyin

    (Source: Forecast International; issued June 21, 2010)

    TAIPEI, Taiwan --- Taiwan deployed a surface-to-surface version of its Sky Bow 2 air defense missile on Dongyin, an outlying island near mainland China. Taiwan has held several islands near the mainland since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

    Taipei has a Sky Bow (Tien Kung) missile battery on the island outfitted with Sky Bow IIB surface-to-surface missiles. These missiles have a range of 600 kilometers, enabling them to strike targets as far away as Shanghai. Now, Taiwanese legislators are considering withdrawing troops from Dongyin in an effort to improve relations with China. Taipei could withdraw these missiles to convince China to remove its own ballistic missile force within striking range of Taiwan.

    In addition to the missiles, Taiwan maintains a military force of more than 3,000 servicemen on Dongyin. Taiwan also has land-based anti-ship missiles with a range of 150 kilometers deployed on the island.


  9. #19

    China asks Taiwan leave Dongyin for missile pullout: report

    Moving of Taiwan troops from the rocky island could be considered: lawmakers

    Taiwan News, Staff Writer

    2010-06-22 12:00 AM Fonts Size:

    Lawmakers gave a cool response to reports yesterday that China would withdraw missiles targeted at Taiwan if Taipei decided to withdraw troops from the small island of Dongyin.

    The rocky island, populated by about 1,000 residents, is situated just northeast of Matzu and is Taiwan's northernmost point. There are 3,000 Taiwanese troops stationed on Dongyin, according to the Chinese-language Liberty Times daily.

    U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein brought a message from China during her recent visit from Taiwan, saying Beijing would consider repositioning its missiles if Taipei withdrew its troops from Dongyin, the paper said. China has more than 1,000 missiles pointing at Taiwan.

    Some lawmakers said the proposal could be considered, while others insisted it was up to China to make the first move and show goodwill toward Taiwan.

    Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Huang Wei-cher said the reported Beijing offer might be acceptable because moving and restationing troops and missiles could both happen quite quickly. In addition, China was only asking for a partial withdrawal, and not for a complete evacuation of Dongyin, Huang said.

    President Ma Ying-jeou mentioned the demilitarization of the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matzu, close to the coast of China's Fujian Province, before, Huang said, so leaving Dongyin could be a first step to show goodwill.

    He mentioned that in 1994, then-DPP Chairman Shih Ming-te once mentioned the demilitarization of Kinmen and Matzu as an option to improve relations with China.

    However, Huang also pointed out that Feinstein had never been friendly toward Taiwan, and that the honor of pushing for a breakthrough in cross-straits relations should therefore be given to more pro-Taiwanese U.S. politicians.

    Ruling Kuomintang legislator Lin Yu-fang said China should be the first to make a gesture, since Taiwan only had a couple of thousand troops left on Kinmen and Matzu. It was not the time for Taiwan to continue and show more goodwill, he said.

    Lin said he met many U.S. Defense and State Department officials each year but had never before heard the suggestion about leaving Dongyin in return for a cut in the number of Chinese missiles.

    The Liberty Times quoted unnamed generals as saying the island was strategically too important to give up. Control over Dongyin could help with closing off the northern access to the Taiwan Straits, the paper said. China had failed to obtain the ending of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, so instead it was now concentrating on more achievable aims, according to the paper.

    The Liberty Times also said a number of highly sophisticated missiles were stationed on Dongyin, including ground-to-ground missiles which could reach Shanghai 550km away. During military exercises, it had been concluded that during a war, Taiwan's fighter jets would fail to reach Dongyin safely, so it was essential to enable the island to continue the resistance against China on its own, the paper said.

  10. #20

    INTERVIEW - Taiwan overdue for F-16 jets, ex U.S. official say

    By Jim Wolf

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is "way past due" to meet Taiwan's request for updated F-16 fighter jets to help plug a growing gap with China, said a former U.S. official overseeing Air Force programs designed to help the self-governing island keep up its defences.

    "Acquiring new F-16s, in my view, is about maintaining the very same deterrent capability that we helped Taiwan achieve in the late 1990s," Bruce Lemkin told Reuters in an interview.

    Lemkin, who resigned on June 19 after nearly seven years as the Air Force's deputy under secretary for international affairs, led Air Force efforts to build partnerships worldwide. These included programs in Taiwan in line with a law that has governed U.S. arms sales to the island since 1979, when U.S. diplomatic ties shifted from Taipei to Beijing.

    China regards Taiwan as a rogue province, subject to unification with the mainland if necessary by force.

    Beijing halted military exchanges with the United States after President Barack Obama's administration announced plans in January for a potential $6.4 billion arms package, all but clearing the books on sales committed to since 2001 by former President George W. Bush.

    Lemkin said in an email exchange that Taiwan's ability to defend its skies had "degraded appreciably" as 145 U.S.-supplied F-16A/Bs and other fighters have aged.

    Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said the Obama administration was working with Taiwan to evaluate its defense needs.

    "In accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States makes available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability," he said in an email.

    Taiwan has sought to buy as many as 66 Lockheed Martin Corp-built F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters from the United States since 2006 to supplement the A/B models sold in 1992.

    The Taiwan Relations Act, adopted in 1979, stipulates that the U.S. president and Congress shall determine arms sales "based solely upon their judgment of the needs of Taiwan."

    Lemkin was a chief of the Asia-Pacific Division on the U.S. military's Joint Staff in the late 1990s. He hedged his comments on Taiwan's defenses in testimony to a congressionally appointed panel on May 20.

    He said then it was important to look at Taiwan's integrated capabilities, not just its fighters. At the time, he emphasized a Raytheon Co surveillance radar that he said would be fully linked with Lockheed- and Raytheon-built Patriot missile defenses.

    But he told Reuters that, now that he was free to discuss it, he considered an F-16 deal "way past due," alluding to the normal 36-month delivery delay after an order is booked.

    The timing is important because the production line may be nearing its end. Lockheed's F-16 backlog will continue the line through May 2013 absent any new orders in the next six months, company spokeswoman Laurie Quincy told Reuters last month.

    The F-16 is to superseded by Lockheed's radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a higher-performing warplane that is in early production stages.

    F-16C/D models are "capable, versatile and would sustain Taiwan's self-defense capabilities for many years," Lemkin said.

    Dan Blumenthal, the Pentagon's country director for China and Taiwan in 2004 and a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said there was only one reason that an F-16 sale had been held up: Obama, not unlike Bush before him, does "not want to anger China."

    (Editing by Chris Wilson)

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