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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


ROC Central News Agency

2005-03-10 22:06:34

    Taipei, March 10 (CNA) Minister of National Defense Lee Jye appealed to opposition lawmakers once again Thursday to support the defense ministry's purchase plan for arms from the United States, saying that if no new purchases are made, the cross-strait military balance will severely tilt in China's favor by 2012.

    Noting that China's defense budget is growing at a double-digit pace, Lee said that the cross-strait military balance will seriously favor China if Taiwan fails to secure the weapon systems that it has planned to purchase from the United States since 1996.

    Lee was referring to the six Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile batteries, eight diesel-fueled submarines and a squadron of 12 anti-submarine aircraft.

    By 2012, Lee said, when China's and Taiwan's air and navy combat capabilities are at a prospective ratio of 2.87: 1, the mainland will be sufficiently capable of taking Taiwan by force.

    This, of course, does not necessarily mean that China will invade Taiwan in 2012. The truth is that the "red light" may flash in the cross- strait military balance by that year, with Taiwan being on the vulnerable side, if the island continues to lag in procuring advanced weaponry, Lee said.

    Lee made the remarks at a news conference after he paid courtesy calls on lawmakers from the opposition Kuomintang and the Taiwan Solidarity Union while lobbying for the passage of the budget for the U.S. weapon systems.

    Noting that a cut in the budget is acceptable and understandable, Lee said hopefully the cut will be reasonable and not result in having to abandon the purchase plan.

(By Deborah Kuo)


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