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Taiwan grateful for U.S. concern over its security

ROC Central News Agency

2013/05/08 21:48:05

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Taiwan said Wednesday it is grateful for the U.S.' concern for its national security in the face of China's continuing military buildup, which was highlighted in an annual U.S. report on modernization of the Chinese military.

In its 2013 report on China's military and security developments, the United States has shown concern for Taiwan's national security, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement, adding that it is thankful for such support.

In the report, the U.S. said 'preparing for potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait appears to remain the principal focus and primary driver of China's military investment,' although its military modernization has also become increasingly focused on investments in capabilities to conduct a wider range of missions.

Washington also said in the report that its policy toward Taiwan will continue to be based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

The TRA, enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1979 when Washington and Taipei severed ties, obliges the U.S. to provide Taiwan with defensive arms.

The report said that as of December 2012, China had deployed more than 1,100 short-range ballistic missiles opposite Taiwan.

In response, the ministry said it will remain vigilant and strengthen its defense capabilities. Although cross-strait relations have improved, China has continued its military buildup and has not renounced the use of force against Taiwan, it added.

As part of China's military modernization effort, it is 'fielding a limited but growing number of conventionally armed, medium-range ballistic missiles,' including the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, the U.S. report read.

The DF-21D is seen as an aircraft killer. It has a range exceeding 1,500 kilometers and is armed with a maneuverable warhead, according to the report.

Meanwhile, in response to the U.S.' concerns over Taiwan's move toward a volunteer military, the ministry said it is planning to offer incentives such as higher salaries and subsidies to attract more people to join and stay in the military.

In the report, the U.S. also expressed concerns over Taiwan's military spending, which is under 3 percent of GDP.

The military said the defense budget was determined on a practical and reasonable basis. It added that it can apply to the Cabinet for special funds if the U.S. approves the sale of more arms to Taiwan.

(By Elaine Hou)

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