Taiwan seeking long-term U.S. logistic support: defense official

10/08/2019 01:32 PM
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Vice Defense Minister Chang Guan-chung
Vice Defense Minister Chang Guan-chung

Maryland, U.S., Oct. 7 (CNA) A Taiwanese defense official has appealed to the United States to provide Taiwan long-term logistic support in addition to the sales of arms made to bolster the country's defenses.

"We expect that our arms acquisition will not be limited to the weapons themselves but also include long-term logistic support," said vice minister General Chang Guan-chung (張冠群) during a speech at the annual U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Ellicott City, Maryland on Monday.

He described such support as crucial and something that should be a focus of future Taiwan-U.S. cooperation.

Citing the U.S.'s recent agreement to sell Taiwan M1A2T Abrams tanks and F-16 Viper Block 70 jet fighters, Chang told the conference that U.S. businesses can take a step further in working with Taiwanese companies by building depot-level maintenance capacity in Taiwan.

"This will lower maintenance costs and raise maintenance efficiency for better operational sustainability," he said.

"Moreover, building a local maintenance supply chain will provide life cycle integrated logistic support to countries in the region and therefore raise the operational rate of U.S.-made equipment in the region," he added.

"This will surely be a mutually beneficial practice for us to share our resources together."

In the speech, Chang described the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a peacemaker in the Indo-Pacific region, and that maintaining regional peace and stability is a shared responsibility of all regional countries.

He said Taiwan holds a critical geostrategic position between the Asian continent and the ocean, and that the U.S.'s Indo-Pacific strategies only accentuate Taiwan's geostrategic importance in the political, military, and economic fields.

As a successful example of the "Third Wave of democratization" and a source of inspiration for people in China and developing countries in the region, "Taiwan's pursuit of peace and democracy marks a sharp difference from mainland China and makes us worthy of the trust from the United States and regional countries," the general said.

But in facing the growing military threat from communist China, "the Republic of China on Taiwan will not be engaged in an arms race," he stressed.

Taiwan's strategic direction is to build a "resolute defense and multi-domain deterrence," Chang said, stating that his country's overall defense concept is focused on "force protection" and the "destruction of the enemy at the landing beach."

"We intend to make use of the natural buffer zone of the Taiwan Strait and our geostrategic advantages," he said. "We adopt innovative and asymmetric concepts to focus our investment on systems that are mobile, hard to find, agile, cheap, numerous, survivable, and operationally effective."

By building capabilities to seize battlefield initiatives, "we expect to meet our operational objectives of 'defeating the enemy's mission to occupy Taiwan,'" Chang stated.

The 18th edition of the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Conference that addresses U.S. defense cooperation with Taiwan runs through Tuesday, with participants to discuss Taiwan's overall defense concept (ODC) and how emerging technologies could affect ODC plans.

Asked about Chang's call for logistic support from Washington, York Chen (陳文政), a deputy secretary-general of Taiwan's National Security Council, said the U.S. side shares the intention to build a logistic supply chain with Taiwanese companies.

"This will be the focus of future cooperation," he said.

He said he felt there will be "substantial achievements" coming up in security maintenance cooperation between U.S. and Taiwan companies in the near future, without elaborating on what they might be, saying they involved commercial secrets.

The term "third wave of democratization" was popularized by Samuel P. Huntington, a political scientist at Harvard University.

It outlines the significance of a third wave of democratization to describe the global trend that has seen more than 60 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa undergo some form of democratic transitions since Portugal's "Carnation Revolution" in 1974.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Elizabeth Hsu)


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