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Taiwan developing asymmetrical strategies to deal with China

2011/09/20 15:58:24

Richmond, Virginia, Sept. 19 (CNA) Taiwan is developing "asymmetrical strategies" utilizing unconventional capabilities to counter China's military buildup, Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang said at a conference in Richmond, Virginia, Monday.

In a keynote speech at the 2011 U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, Yang addressed an emerging China's impact on Asia-Pacific security, Taiwan's response, and the objectives Taiwan and the U.S. can work on together to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

He described Taiwan's asymmetrical mind-set as one of "David against Goliath" to deal with the growing military imbalance across the Taiwan Strait.

"In combination with innovative weapons and defensive countermeasure weapons, Taiwan integrates conventional and unconventional warfare flexibility to create cost-efficient, highly efficient and attainable 'asymmetric/innovative' powers," Yang said.

That way, Taiwan can maximize its advantages to hit the most vulnerable parts of the enemy, sabotage the enemy's operations, and gain mobility, he said.

"This is exactly how size does not matter," he added.

Yang also stressed that Taiwan cannot produce weapons indigenously for technological or cost reasons and has to buy them from other countries.

"Everything we want to buy is defensive because we need to replace our outdated weapons with new ones, instead of engaging in an arms race," Yang stressed.

On reports that the United States has decided to offer Taiwan an upgrade to its F-16 A/B jet fighter fleet but not the more advanced F-16C/D fighters that Taiwan had hoped to buy, Yang reaffirmed that Taiwan needs the more advanced fighters to replace aging F-5E/Fs.

The advanced jet fighters as well as diesel-electric submarines both had a direct impact on peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, Yang said.

He also pledged that Taiwan would never provoke hostilities or launch a first strike, but said it needed to protect itself and take countermeasures if attacked.

Taiwan had to have the ability to survive a first strike, counter decapitation operations, initiate mobile counterstrikes and survive prolonged operations.

If an enemy initiated an attack, Taiwan would have to draw on its advantages by employing its defensive countermeasure capabilities to hit key military targets and amphibious troops assembling at ports.

As a battle progressed, Taiwan would place more emphasis on joint interdiction and joint anchorage attacks to stop the enemy from traveling across the Taiwan Strait and delay their arrival in Taiwan, he said.

Also speaking at the conference, Joseph Wu, a former representative to the United States under the previous Democratic Progressive Party government, said that if the United States rejected the sale of F-16 C/Ds under pressure from China, it would be even harder for it to sell more sensitive weapons to Taiwan.

Wu, who noted the U.S. had been lukewarm to selling new fighters to Taiwan in the past, said it was not a good thing for the F-16 C/Ds to become the focus of the international community, as Taiwan's needs for equipment at sea and joint warfare weapons could be affected.

He said that if the United States was worried about China's reaction and the Taiwan Relations Act, it could provide technological assistance to help Taiwan produce defensive weapons, such as smaller submarines, and build a self-sufficient defense industry.

Paul Wolfowitz, chairman of U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, called Washington's reported rejection of the sale of F-16 C/Ds to Taiwan disappointing, but he said arms sales and bilateral relations had to be viewed from a longer perspective.

The former deputy secretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration also urged the U.S. to keep its decision making process open and transparent.

For the first time in the 10 years the conference has been held, no officials from the U.S. State Department attended. The only U.S. official present was Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary for Asian & Pacific security affairs at the Pentagon.

(By Jay Chou, Tony Liao and Lilian Wu)