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Taiwan warns of growing challenges to its self-defense

ROC Central News Agency

2013/03/26 22:24:51

Taipei, March 26 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) warned Tuesday that the military balance across the Taiwan Strait is tilting further in China's favor and the island's ability to defend itself faces increasingly daunting challenges.

MND spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he issued the warning after media reports here said that China has signed a deal to buy 24 Su-35 advanced jet fighters and four Lada-class submarines in what is believed to be the country's largest purchase of Russian-made weapon systems in a decade.

Instead of engaging in an arms race with China, however, Taiwan's military will try to maximize the effects of its limited budget and resources, said Luo.

He added that Taiwan's military will seek to deter China's threat by mastering the skills of asymmetric warfare and by combining firepower with non-physical fighting capabilities such as improved quality of personnel, morale and fighting spirit.

At a press briefing, the spokesman also urged China to "act in a way that is becoming to a major power" and to stop blocking Taiwan's participation in international conferences.

Following a request made by China's embassy in Indonesia, organizers withdrew their invitation for a four-member Taiwanese delegation to attend the annual Jakarta International Defense Dialogue (JIDD), held March 20-21, according to Foreign Minister David Lin.

More than 500 people from 45 countries, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter, participated in the JIDD, a security forum on the same level as the annual Shangri-la dialogue held in Singapore since 2002.

According to sources familiar with the issue, Taiwan asked to send a delegation when the first JIDD was held in 2011 but received no answer. A year later, Ma Chen-kun, a professor at National Defense University, attended the forum as Taiwan's representative at the invitation of an Indonesian think tank.

Andrew Hsia, Taiwan's de facto ambassador to Indonesia in the absence of diplomatic ties between the two countries, reported last week that two scholars and two diplomats from Taiwan had their invitation withdrawn after China protested.

Hsia said that he has already filed a complaint with the Indonesian government and asked Jakarta not to yield to China's "overreaction."

(By Rogge Chen and Elizabeth Hsu)

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