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U.S. experts suggest more military defense choices for Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

2011/10/27 21:48:37

Washington, Oct. 26 (CNA) U.S. military experts recommended Wednesday various alternatives for Taiwan's defense against potential Chinese aggression in view of the country's failure to obtain F-16 C/D fighters from the U.S.

Taiwan has options other than F-16 C/D fighters to defend itself, Rick Fisher, an Asia military affairs expert, said at a symposium held by the International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC).

With its limited military budget, Taiwan could consider buying sensor-fused munitions, which automatically detect and locate moving targets on the ground to curtail the ground capability of China's People's Liberation Army, said the IASC senior fellow.

Counter-airborne precision weapons, on the other hand, can extend time for defense and maintain ground competitiveness, he noted.

Fisher also said Taiwan must have weaponry such as anti-ship missiles and cannons to counter China's military, which is expected to have 1,000 fighter jets and 2,000-3,000 missiles pointed at Taiwan by 2020.

However, Mark Stokes, executive director of Project 2049 Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said F-16 fighters are critical to the country's defenses, and added that advanced submarines could also be effective.

He suggested that Taiwan could continue pushing for submarine purchases from the U.S. or develop its own, as many Asian countries have done.

John Tkacik, an IASC senior fellow, on the other hand, noted that the Taiwan Relations Act, Washington's "Six Assurances" to Taiwan and its "Three Communiques" with China do not say literally that the U.S. can only sell Taiwan "defensive" arms.

There is still flexibility for U.S. arm sales to Taiwan, considering the previous F-5E and F-16A/B fighters sales and the history of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's concession of arms sales to Taiwan in 1978, the retired U.S. diplomat said. (By Tony Liao and Kendra Lin) ENDITEM/J

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