A new U.S. Pentagon report on China's military buildup indicatedthat the military imbalance between China and Taiwan is widening,threatening stability in the region.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of theissue:
United Daily News:
The U.S. Pentagon's just-released report on military and securitydevelopments involving China said that by December 2009, the People'sLiberation Army (PLA) had deployed between 1,050 and 1,150short-range ballistic missiles targeted at Taiwan.
However, local news media cited a Ministry of National Defense(MND) magazine report in July as estimating that the number ofChinese short-range missiles targeting Taiwan will reach 1,960 by theend of this year.
Asked about the difference, a defense ministry official saidTuesday the research report carried in an MND academic publication inJuly only reflected the author's personal projection, not anauthentic intelligence report.
According to the MND's 2009 National Defense Report, the PLA haddeployed about 1,300 various types of short-range missiles and cruisemissiles by the end of 2009. "This estimate was roughly same as thePentagon's figure," the MND official added.
He further said the MND was not surprised by the content of thenewly released Pentagon report which concludes that despite PresidentMa Ying-jeou's efforts to increase economic and cultural ties,China's military buildup continues unabated.
According to the official, Taiwan was a major source ofintelligence and a consultative partner in the U.S. study on China'smilitary strength. (Aug. 18, 2010).
The Pentagon report released Monday said China is extending itsmilitary advantage over Taiwan and increasingly looking beyond,building up a force with the power to strike in Asia as far away asthe U.S. territory of Guam.
Pointing out that Beijing is rapidly expanding its armed forcesto "deter, delay or deny" any possible U.S. support for Taiwan incase of a conflict, the report said the balance of cross-straitmilitary forces continues to shift in China's favor.
The report further said the PLA is upgrading the lethality of theforce deployed against Taiwan, including by introducing variants ofits CSS-6 and CSS-7 missiles with improved ranges, accuracies andpayloads.
Responding to the U.S. report, MND spokesman Yu Sy-tue saidTuesday the government is fully aware that China has not given up itsintention to use force against Taiwan.
"We are closely monitoring China's military developments and weask the public to rest assured," Yu added. (Aug. 18, 2010).
With its shipbuilding technology advancing swiftly and increasingassistance from abroad, China is likely to begin building its firstaircraft carrier before the end of this year, far ahead of the 2016timeline previously forecast by some U.S. experts, the Pentagonreport said.
China is also expected to build several more aircraft carriersand auxiliary warships in the next 10 years, the report said, addingthat some of China's aircraft carriers will be commissioned intoservice during the period.
According to the report, Brazil will assist China in training itspilots to fly warplanes aboard aircraft carriers. Moreover, it said,China intends to procure 50 Su-33 warplanes to be posted on aircraftcarriers for an estimated US$2.5 billion. However, negotiations forthe deal have stalled due to China's alleged copying of Su-27 jetfighters without Russia's consent, the report said. (Aug. 18, 2010).
(By Sofia Wu)