It is important to point out that Taiwan’s QDR is influenced by the main argument of the “Murray Report,” which stated, “Taipei can no longer expect to counter Chinese military strengths in a symmetrical manner. Taiwan must therefore rethink and redesign its defense strategy, emphasizing the asymmetrical advantage of being the defender, seeking to deny the People's Republic its strategic objectives rather than attempting to destroy its weapons systems.” The "Murray Report" recommends that Taiwan should forego naval and air superiority, digging in and relying on passive defense by ground forces. Nevertheless, air and maritime forces still play critical roles in the defense of Taiwan. Given the substantial imbalances in the defensive and offensive strengths between Taiwan and China, respectively, effective air and maritime defense capabilities are still a critical deterrent for the self-defense of Taiwan. Accordingly, the "Murray Report" should not be taken as the blueprint of instructing Taiwan's national defense strategy. The government needs to show determination in strengthening Taiwan's overall defense capabilities so that the Taiwanese people can be reassured that a Chinese invasion would be met with an effective Taiwanese counterforce.The paper referred to here is the infamous piece by William Murray, which I discussed in a previous round-up of the QDR, and in the fall of 2008 (here, here, here) when debate raged among US experts. Murray's paper has been found useful by certain parties within both the US government and the Taiwan government who do not want to see Taiwan's offensive military capabilities improved.
Meanwhile the US Navy is watching the PLA strengthen with the plans to build an aircraft carrier but that won't affect cooperation.
This year’s US Defense Department annual report on Chinese military capabilities said China was making advances in denying outsiders access to offshore areas and was improving its nuclear, space and cyber warfare capabilities.
Last week a Chinese admiral told state media that China would accelerate development of warships, stealth submarines and long-range missiles as the country makes a stronger navy a priority in military modernization.
Chinese media have also highlighted the government’s hopes to build an aircraft carrier, seen as the badge of a mature ocean-going power, prompting concern in the region about China’s military ambitions and how that could alter the balance of power.
“There has been no doubt in my mind that the acquisition of an aircraft carrier and carrier aviation was something that was clearly an ambition and an objective of the PLA navy,” Roughead said.
“The advent of an aircraft carrier on the part of the PLA navy to me really doesn’t change the nature of our operations at all,” he said. “The real issue is: How are those aircraft carriers used and what is the intent of that capability?”
The US Navy's position appears to be that it is committed to cooperation irrespective of how the Chinese behave.
Last week it was reported in Defense News that Taiwan was considering building its own submarines:
The United States offered Taiwan a cost-effective solution in 2003 when Italy offered to sell eight decommissioned Sauro-class diesel submarines for only $2 billion. Delivery would have begun in 2006 after the United States refurbished the vessels. However, Taiwan rejected the offer and continued to insist on new submarines. Further complicating the issue, a special budget for submarines was held up in the legislature for six years due to political infighting between elements supporting independence from China and others supporting unification.I heard from individuals with strong knowledge of local defense issues that one should be skeptical about whether such plans will ever come to fruition. For reference, check out former Pentagon Taiwan expert Mark Stokes' excellent piece in Heritage on the arms purchase and related issues. The Italian Sauro class submarines Wiki page makes it easy to see why Taiwan didn't want them. They are early 1980s subs.
“Any move by the Ma administration to examine alternative acquisition routes for diesel submarines should be welcomed,” a former Pentagon official said.
However, many ask whether the self-governing island can build a complex platform like a submarine. “The question is not whether Taiwan can or cannot make submarines. Colombian drug runners can make submarines,” the former Pentagon official said. “The question is, how sophisticated of a submarine could Taiwan industry produce” without U.S. assistance? Taiwan’s state-owned China Shipbuilding Corp. (CSBC) has successfully built naval vessels. CSBC built eight Perry-class (Cheng Kungclass) frigates under U.S. license in the 1990s and is constructing 29 Kuang Hua VI-class missile boats armed with Hsiung Feng 2 (Brave Wind) anti-ship missiles.
On Saturday the 9th of May there is a conference at the Ambassador Hotel on Taiwan's security and diplomacy. More details as they arrive.
- Taiwan Identity on promotion of local languages.
- Why one Taiwan village wants nuclear waste.
- Taiwan, international status, and climate change from The Globalist.
- Chinese Consumer Podcast with its 49th show.
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