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Taiwan closely monitoring China's military build-up: MND

ROC Central News Agency

2010/08/17 20:44:05

Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) In the wake of a U.S. Pentagon report that stated China's military build-up opposite Taiwan has "continued unabated" despite warming cross-strait relations, the Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday it has been closely monitoring the situation.

"The public has no need to worry," said military spokesman Yu Sy- tue

The Pentagon, in a report released Monday on China's military development, said that China is expanding its military advantages over Taiwan, and is increasingly looking at areas beyond the island.

"The balance of cross-Strait military forces continues to shift in the mainland's favor," the report said.

In response, Lin Yu-fang, a convener of the Legislative Yuan's National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee said there is no need for the public to be "overly nervous" as the possibility of a cross-strait conflict is very slim, given the stable relations between Taiwan and China.

On the matter of an increasing military imbalance in favor of China, Lin said that Taiwan's small land area makes it impossible for China to deploy all of its forces in the coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangdong opposite Taiwan in preparation for a possible war.

"From a regional perspective, a relative balance is maintained to some extent," Lin said.

Since the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama took office, it has not approved any new arms sales to Taiwan, Lin said, adding that Taiwan would be forced to develop guided missiles or cruise missiles with longer range if Washington continues to stall on selling Taiwan more advanced weapons.

"The U.S. should seriously consider whether it would let Taiwan to go its own way," he said.

In January, the U.S. announced its intent to sell US$6.4 billion worth of defensive arms to Taiwan -- a package that was approved by the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Wong Ming-hsien, director of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies (GIIASS) , said that China has made several strategic moves over the past year, going back and forth between the first and second island chains in the Pacific ocean.

He cited as examples China's naval advance from the Pacific to Indian ocean to deter pirates in the Gulf of Aden and its attempts to build aircraft carriers.

The latest Pentagon report indicates that the U.S. is trying to deal comprehensively with China rising power by offering an analysis of the security situation in the region, Wong said. He urged that Washington adopt a new strategy toward Asia as China's rise is becoming a reality.

For Taiwan's part, it is definitely necessary to build a self-sufficient national defense and to show determination for self-defence, which will give the country greater bargaining power in its increasing exchanges with China, he said.

Former chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council and top Taiwan envoy to the U.S. Joseph Wu said that the report points to the fact that in spite of improved cross-strait ties, China has never abandoned its attempt (to take Taiwan by force.)

However, GIIASS professor Wang Kao-chen suggested that Taiwan take a two-pronged approach to the problem.

Taiwan should build its missile-defense capability and at the same time try to convince Beijing that its military deployment will only make the Taiwan people more bitter against China, he said.

He further advised that Taiwan take a neutral stand in the latest row between the U.S. and China over right of access in the South China Sea and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Any involvement by Taiwan in these issues would be detrimental, both in terms of Taiwan's national security and its economic development, he said. (By Tseng Yi-hsuan, Li Garfie & Bear Lee) Enditem/ pc

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