The Air Balance on the Taiwan Strait

A.V.

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by Richard Fisher, Jr.
Published on February 21st, 2010


Since the early 1950s, to deter war between Taiwan and China, American presidents have pursued a calibrated policy of selling “defensive” weapons to Taiwan to deter immediate Chinese attack, while retaining sufficient U.S. forces in Asia to deter China on a larger scale. This policy was codified in the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA)[1] after Washington derecognized Taipei and abrogated a Mutual Defense Treaty at the end of 1978. However, there have been periods when these arms sales have waned due to Washington’s desire to advance relations with Beijing or to show displeasure with Taipei. Most recently by the Bush Administration delayed arms sales to show displeasure with the “independence” tendencies of former Taiwan President Chen Shuibian, as it also tried to engage a more powerful China in addressing perceived “mutual” concerns. One concern not shared: China’s steadfast goal to control Taiwan absent any consent by its people, as seen by China’s accelerating military buildup.

After a year of consideration, President Barack Obama continued the policy of calibrated arms sales with the January 29, 2009 announcement of a $6.4 billion arms sales package to Taiwan. This package will include 114 Patriot PAC-3 missile interceptors, 66 Sikorsky UH-60 transport helicopters, two naval minesweepers, advanced military communication networking technology and training missiles. This followed the Bush Administration’s $6.5 billion arms package of October 2008, which included 33 Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and 12 refurbished Lockheed-Martin P-3C Orion anti-submarine patrol aircraft.

However, noticeably absent from both packages were the 66 Lockheed-Martin F-16 Block 52 Falcon fighters Taiwan has sought since 2006. Also not included was a perhaps more recent request for upgrades for Taiwan’s existing F-16s.[2] Taiwan requires these fighters and upgrades to balance the growing capabilities of those entering China’s People’s Liberation Air Force (PLAAF) and to replace its obsolete 1970s vintage Northrop F-5E fighters. During a January 29 press conference an unnamed State Department official stated, “We’re aware of – well aware of Taiwan’s interest in acquiring F-16 aircraft… And we’re in the process of assessing Taiwan’s needs and requirements for that capability.”[3] Another source reports that if an internal Administration assessment determines this sale is necessary, it “will be authorized in the coming months.”[4] But even if this sale is approved its deterrent effect may be temporary. By the end of the decade the PLAAF may be taking delivery of Chinese-built first 5th generation fighters expected to out-class the F-16.

So far denied: An F-16 Block 60 of the Dubai Air Force incorporates advanced electronics and weapons now required by Taiwan to sustain a balance with an increasingly capable PLA Air Force. Source: RD Fisher
http://strategycenter.net/research/pubID.224/pub_detail.asp
 

Yusuf

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why hasn't taiwan looked at other countries over the years for advanced weapons? I am sure if they approach france for the rafale, they would jump on it. I don't think the US would get in the way.

Wonder if india can find a market in the future over there with brahmos and pak fa.
 
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Chinese have always been a threat with their quantity which Taiwan balanced with quality, with Chinese quantity starting show a little quality the threat becomes greater to Taiwan, but as always US will step in and save them and make big money at the same time.
 

Yusuf

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If there was no taiwan strait, there would have been no taiwan. China would have invaded ages back.
 

Koji

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The last major military purchase form European firms was Taiwan's Lafayette Class destroyers and Mirage-2000s. Since then, China has gained considerable diplomatic influence and essentially block firms from selling to Taiwan. Taiwan tried to buy German U-Boats but the Germans denied them because of Chinese pressure.
 

Armand2REP

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The last major military purchase form European firms was Taiwan's Lafayette Class destroyers and Mirage-2000s. Since then, China has gained considerable diplomatic influence and essentially block firms from selling to Taiwan.
You Chinese fanboys would like to think you're that important. The Clearstream trail was dismissed after lack of evidence over the frigate deal with Taiwan. ROC still has lawsuits against us and we still have lawsuits against them. That is why they don't buy from us anymore and their Mirage-2000 fleet sits as a rusting junk pile.
 

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I really don't understand the wests policy. On one hand they say they won't allow any use of force against taiwan. On the other hand they don't give it arms. The west uses taiwan to pin down china and then falls for chinese threats. quite hypocritical.
 

Koji

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You Chinese fanboys would like to think you're that important. The Clearstream trail was dismissed after lack of evidence over the frigate deal with Taiwan. ROC still has lawsuits against us and we still have lawsuits against them. That is why they don't buy from us anymore and their Mirage-2000 fleet sits as a rusting junk pile.
Those Mirage 2000-5EI are still potent and they're still flying. How on earth did you get the idea that their fleet is rusted? Of those ordered, all 56 are operational.

And to give you an example of the threat of the Chinese economic sanction...the Dutch sold Taiwan subamarines in the past and they responded with sanctions. Since then, the Dutch refuse to sell any military equipment to Taiwan and adhere strictly to the "One China Policy"

" In 1992, the Dutch Government refused to allow Dutch shipyards permission to build submarines destined for the ROCN. This action was reportedly taken to avoid offending the PRC while Fokker was negotiating a large aircraft sale to the mainland. At the time, there were rumoured offers in place involving six Walrus or Moray class submarines for Taiwan in deals variously reported to be valued at US$1.5B, US$4.7B, and £780M. Nothing came of these rumours and, incidentally, no sale was realized between Fokker and the PRC"

"n 1993, the Federal Security Council blocked the export of German-built submarine hulls to Taiwan. This was probably in response to a German consortium’s effort to sell submarines (produced by Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) and MEKO class corvettes (produced by Blohm + Voss) to Taiwan as part of a deal valued at DM12.5B. Like the Netherlands, the German Government is unlikely to jeopardize its relations with the PRC by sanctioning direct arms sales with Taiwan."

THIS ONE IS FOR YOU ARMAND
"French construction. Direction des Constructions Navales International (DCNI) has probably offered Taiwan its Scorpene design, which it sold to Chile. However, any French attempt to sell submarines to Taiwan runs in direct opposition to stated French policy (frequently violated) prohibiting arms sales to Taiwan. France also prohibits defence-related sales to the PRC as a result of the Tiananmen Square massacre, but continues civilian sales to the PRC, which is seen as a growth market. France’s official policy precludes arms deals with Taiwan, to avoid offending the PRC, even though the Taiwan defence market probably represents a larger near-term economic opportunity than does the PRC. This is a difficult policy since France's defence industry is realizing major layoffs due to major cutbacks in French naval construction programs and decreased export opportunities. These layoffs are causing significant internal political pressure for the French Government, but France does not appear willing to risk the long-term commercial economic opportunities present in the PRC by concluding major arms sales with Taiwan that represent only short and mid-term successes. "

http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/export/export_taiwan.htm

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/taiwan/hai-lung-2.htm
 

Yusuf

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Why don't the west then just let china steam roll into taiwan? Why the ambiguous stand on having a one china policy and still not letting china march into taiwan ?
 

Koji

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Those helicopters are for Search and Rescue. You'll notice that any weapon system that is somewhat offensive is restricted. The submarines are prime examples. Even the US refuses to sell more F-16's or Blackhawk helicopters.
 

Koji

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Why don't the west then just let china steam roll into taiwan? Why the ambiguous stand on having a one china policy and still not letting china march into taiwan ?
Because the US is bound by law to prevent that from happening. Reunification can only be acceptable to the US by choice, and not by force.
 
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It will be upto USA to decide if Taiwan will be reunified, China has no say in the matter; if they did Taiwan would be part of China and it isn't. Since Taiwan is so poorly armed because of Chinese pressure against the Europeans why can't they take Taiwan??
 

Koji

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It will be upto USA to decide if Taiwan will be reunified, China has no say in the matter; if they did Taiwan would be part of China and it isn't.
China does have a say in the matter, and so does the US. Hence...the tug of war and the weird limbo Taiwan seems to exist in. Plus remember, it is the US that tells Taiwan's DPP party to avoid independence talk.
 
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It maybe a tug of war but Taiwan is still not under a Chinese flag so USA is winning the tug of war.
 

Yusuf

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Like I said before, taiwan exists because of the water separating the two countries. it makes it a hell lot of difficult to cross water and attack than to attack on mainland. That's why the US can take advantage of its powerful navy to deter china.

But still its hypocrisy in the attitude of the west. While it promotes democracy, it doesn't mind playing ball with a commie country all for money. There isn't any principled stand.
 

Koji

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It maybe a tug of war but Taiwan is still not under a Chinese flag so USA is winning the tug of war.
LOL. Taiwan was never under the Chinese flag...and the situation now is the same as when Taiwan first existed under the Nationalists. In fact, you can say that the island is more pro-China than ever before with the KMT in power. Ties between the two have NEVER been closer.
 
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Like I said before, taiwan exists because of the water separating the two countries. it makes it a hell lot of difficult to cross water and attack than to attack on mainland. That's why the US can take advantage of its powerful navy to deter china.

But still its hypocrisy in the attitude of the west. While it promotes democracy, it doesn't mind playing ball with a commie country all for money. There isn't any principled stand.
This hypocrisy is visible in the four corners of the world and in our part of the world it is visible daily.
 

Yusuf

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Taiwan has a very good industrial base. What prevents it from making its own weapons? What is the status of its own arms manufacturing?
 

Sridhar

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Obama is proposing five separate sales: 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, costing US$3.1 billion; 114 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles, radar sets and other related equipment and services, costing US$2.81 billion; 10 RTM-84L Harpoon missiles along with 2 ATM-84L Harpoon missiles and other related equipment, costing US$37 million; 2 refurbished Osprey-class mine-hunting ships, costing US$105 million and finally 35 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems and other related equipment, costing US$340 million.

Congress now has 30 days to comment before the sales go forward, but analysts say there is unlikely to be any serious objection.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2010/01/31/2003464838
 

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