US leaves open more arms for Taiwan

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by LETHALFORCE, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.sinodaily.com/reports/US_leaves_open_more_arms_for_Taiwan_999.html

    US leaves open more arms for Taiwan

    The United States on Thursday left open the possibility of further arms sales to Taiwan, with a senior official saying that China's military buildup was aimed squarely at the self-governing island.

    President Barack Obama's administration in January approved a 6.4 billion dollar arms package for Taiwan including helicopters, Patriot missiles and mine-hunting ships, angering Beijing.

    State Department official David Shear told a congressional panel that the United States will "continue to stand by our commitment" under US law to provide Taiwan with weapons to defend itself.

    "Taiwan must be confident that it has the physical capacity to resist intimidation and coercion in order to engage fully with the mainland," said Shear, the deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia.

    Testifying before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, US officials declined to say if the Obama administration would approve a top item on Taiwan's wish-list -- F-16 fighter-jets.

    Despite his drive to repair relations with Beijing, President Ma Ying-jeou has pitched for F-16s to refurbish Taiwan's aging fleet. A recent report by Taiwan's defense ministry found that China has gained an edge in air power.

    Michael Schiffer, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, said he "didn't want to suggest a decision one way or the other" on the F-16s.

    China has been ramping up military spending for years as part of a modernization drive for its People's Liberation Army (PLA).

    Despite China's growing interests around the world, "we believe that the primary focus of the PLA build-up remains oriented on preparing for contingencies in the Taiwan Strait," Schiffer said.

    "It appears Beijing's long-term strategy is to use political, diplomatic, economic and cultural levers to pursue unification with Taiwan, while building a credible military threat to attack the island if events are moving in what Beijing sees as the wrong direction," he said.

    China also appears content not to attack Taiwan if it believes it will achieve its goals in the long run but is determined to pose a "credible threat" to pressure the island, Schiffer said.

    Taiwan is ruled by nationalists who fled China in 1949 after losing the mainland's civil war. Beijing considers the island part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

    David Shlapak, an analyst at the Rand Corp. think tank, said that the chances China could deliver a "knock-out blow" to Taiwan's air force at the start of a conflict have "increased substantially in recent years."

    "China is assembling a military capable of providing the leadership in Beijing with credible options for the use of force against Taiwan, even in the face of US opposition," Shlapak told the panel.

    China strongly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan, arguing that they run counter to the US recognition in 1979 of Beijing as China's sole government.

    China responded sharply to the arms sales in January, warning that the United States was setting back relations and -- in a new step -- explicitly threatening sanctions on US companies involves in the contracts.

    But Shear said that China's reaction "did not exceed our expectations."

    "As far as I know, the Chinese have not implemented that threat. They have not yet imposed any sanctions on US firms," Shear testified.

    Some US-based China watchers believe that Beijing may have concluded that it went too far in antagonizing Obama, who in his first year put off decisions certain to irk the growing Asian power.

    China criticized Obama in February when he met with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama but made no concrete threat of retaliation.
     
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  3. ankur

    ankur Regular Member

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    do US have the requisite political wiil to intervene inc case of taiwan conflict? will they allow large number of casualities if it occur during the battle?
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This just means that USA will do more buisness by selling more arms and make more money, if there is a war there is no guarantee USA will get directly involved.
     
  5. ankur

    ankur Regular Member

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    that means with PLA increasing it's firepower especially when considering the growing profile of it's ballistic missie force it is possible ,also taking into account the geographical proximity ,that china can "some day" take over taiwan or is it that through constant arm sales of defensive weaponry taiwan is capable to resist it?
     
  6. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    with china going for 5th generation USA will try to push more and more arms sale in Asia on pretext of maintaining power balance . who knows in few years they may clear sale of F-35 for Taiwan .
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    This is a move that is the result of China's over aggressive postures in Asia in the recent past.

    One wonders if the aggressive intent of recent Chinese moves was a correct one from the Chinese perspective.

    Already of the countries around the periphery of China's borders are getting worried and restless.
     

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