In terms of establishing effective communications, the report suggests creating a hot line between high-ranking officials. It advocates the implementation of a code of conduct for both sides to follow when fighter jets or submarines come into contact in the Taiwan Strait, and describes the need to limit the deployment of special troops and military activity, as well as for troop reductions.AP also reported on this, emphasizing the information in the final paragraph:
The newly published NSR does not include extensive coverage of the military threats posed by the People’s Liberation Army. Instead, the paper emphasizes the importance of being prepared for danger in times of peace. It notes that the Chinese mainland has been wielding carrot-and-stick tactics after the United States’ announcement of a major arms sale to Taiwan in October 2008.
In addition to increasing their military threat to Taiwan, Chinese communist leaders have been covering up their political intent with the proposed signing of a peace accord, hoping to lower the island’s resistance and induce Taiwan to surrender without the use of force, the report says.
In its biennial defense report issued Tuesday, the defense ministry said the confidence-building measures have failed to materialize due to unabated Chinese hostility toward Taiwan.There is no legal requirement in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) to supply Taiwan with weapons, though many commentators continue to believe there is. Chris Nelson, a former Dem staffer who was in on the drafting of the TRA, had this to say in 2007:
"We have not been able to make progress in the confidence building measures because China has not given up ... the notion of using force against Taiwan," the ministry said.
The ministry identified possible confidence-building measures as the establishment of a hot line between Taipei and Beijing, and signing a pact to limit the deployment of military personnel and equipment against each other.
It said China has continued holding exercises aimed at preparing its troops to invade the island, and that it is working to prevent outside forces from coming to Taiwan's aid if attacked.
This is a clear reference to the U.S., which has left open the possibility of coming to Taiwan's aid in the event of a Chinese attack.
"China has increased the frequency of its military exercises to pressure us since October 2008 when the U.S. government announced the sale of an arms package to us," the report said. "At this stage, (China) has developed the strategic capabilities to stop foreign forces from intervening in cross-strait conflicts."
The U.S. is required by its own laws to provide Taiwan with weapons of a defensive character.
The ministry added that the number of Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan continues to grow. Taiwanese officials now puts the number at 1,500.
The ministry also referred to the possibility of a formal China peace accord, saying Beijing could use it to "soften (Taiwan's) will to defend itself."
China's Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to faxed questions about the Taiwanese statement.
In fact, the US is not obligated to defend Taiwan by law, and in the post-9/11 world, senior Republican offcials and military brass have cast considerable doubt on the US moral obligation, if President Bush were to conclude that hostilities were the result of actions by Taiwan.It's high time this error that the TRA requires weapons sales was stamped out of the world. Recall that Beijing's Anti-Secession law which "obligates" China to attack Taiwan was invented to echo the erroneous perception that the Taiwan Relations Act obligates the US to sell weapons to Taiwan -- the way orcs were created in mockery of elves. Each time the media repeats that false claim about the TRA, it provides a frisson of equivalency for the Anti-Secession Law.
In fact, although the TRA includes language designed to discourage the use of force by the PRC against Taiwan, the TRA only obligates the US to consider arms sales under certain circumstances, period.
Take our word for it, as a junior staff-participant, even this language was extracted very reluctantly from the State Department at the cost of considerable blood on both sides.
The strongest language Congressional friends of Taiwan were able to add talks about a "grave threat" to US interests in the event of an upset in the peaceful status quo. That's it...not exactly a mutual defense treaty.
So you add it all up, and not even at the beginning did the TRA mandate that the US defend Taiwan under any circumstance, nor that arms must be sold, simply because of requests by Taiwan.
Every aspect of this is subject to US political will, judgement and discretion...the everlasting frustration of both China and Taiwan, duly noted.
It is fascinating that the ROC military has issued a report that essentially undermines the basis for Ma's "reconciliation" with the CCP and also puts a spike in claims that China is treating Taiwan better. On the other hand, the report does provide support for the military's claim that it needs lots of bright shiny new toys to fight China with.
Will China take down the 1,500 missiles it has facing Taiwan? Ma has repeatedly asked, and US analysts have repeatedly hinted, that it should do so. One wonders why on earth Beijing would ever do that: the build-up has paid huge dividends. Those missiles are aimed not only at military targets in Taiwan, but also at the hearts of US military and political analysts.
Observe also that because Ma has hitched his future economic policy to closer PRC links, and that he has carried out this policy irrespective of the increasing PRC threat. Hence, China has no incentive to reduce the missile build up -- what can they get out of the KMT that they haven't got already? Recall too that senior KMT officials made Ma retract his demand that the missiles be reduced several years ago -- those selfsame officials now effectively running cross-strait negotiations. They could care less how many missiles face Taiwan.
Further: the missiles are useful in the economic and political negotiations -- they help convince both locals and foreigners of the "inevitability" of annexation as well as the uselessness of resistance ("You will be assimilated," says Borgjing). The idea of "inevitability" is one of the chief lubricants for public acceptance of ECFA and other agreements that subordinate Taiwan to China. Not only that, but by making any war over Taiwan uglier for whoever faces China, they deter military support for Taiwan -- and give aid and comfort to those in the West who would sell it out.
Useful missiles indeed. Take them down? What does Beijing stand to gain?
- Taiwan astronomer discovers new planet and names it "Kaohsiung." Beijing immediately claims planet as part of China, saying everyone on it is Chinese. Sources say the US government is currently trying to sell it F-16s.
- Ok, so the previous two sentences weren't precisely true.
- Shock: Chinese study says ECFA will have positive effect on Taiwan's economy. Imagine a Chinese study saying that.
- Todd goes riding on Jiufen Ershan, with lovely pics.
- Reuters presents FACTBOX: facts about Taiwan's economy
- Typhoon Lupit expected to bring heavy rain on Wednesday.
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