UPDATE 2: J Michael Cole at Thinking Taiwan discusses the affair and provides much detail on MOFA's clarification of who said what. Washington insiders point out that there is no request for radars. Absurd.
FINAL UPDATE: WashTimes has completely rewritten the article
The Washington Times reports:
The [Cong. J Randy] Forbes proposal calls for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency to explore the costs and benefits of merging a Taiwanese early-warning radar, which has the ability to peer deep into China, with the U.S. military’s own missile defense and sensor systems.I can't emphasize this enough: no one but some fringe Chinese nationalists within the KMT is resisting these radars, and they do that because they imagine themselves to be Chinese and identify with China. The DPP is solidly behind the radar purchase and deployment and supports increase military purchases and contacts with the US. In my years of riding and talking all over Taiwan I have never heard a single peep against these radars. There is literally no domestic opposition. Again, all the opposition comes from the right-wing freak fringe of the KMT, which opposes anything that might interfere with China's ability to dominate the area.
Mr. Jieh said two to four “long-range early-warning radars” have been built along Taiwan’s western coastline, but some in Taiwan are resisting the idea of expanding the system.
“President Ma has been enduring so much domestic pressure, questioning, ‘Why do you need these long-range radar towers detecting the long-range missiles of mainland China that won’t target Taiwan but target some other countries?’” he said.
Despite the opposition, Mr. Jieh said, the Ma government has “been very affirmative in helping the U.S. set up these radar towers because the Ma administration does believe that setting up these long-range radar towers not only helps the U.S., but also helps Taiwan.”
“It’s not my personal criticism, but a lot of people’s criticism in Taiwan is that, ‘Hey, why do we, Taiwan, need such big radar towers that can detect the inner land of mainland China?’” Mr. Jieh said. “‘We don’t need that, actually.’ That’s some people’s argument.”
Two conclusions may be drawn here. First, this misrepresentation shows how weird the dialogue within the KMT about policy truly is: it is so weird and out of touch that fringe groups become "many voices" and insanity is treated as so normal that it can be taken out and displayed before the US as if Ma is making sacrifices in supporting the radar: "See how much the President is suffering?" Except the friction is from his own party, because for Ma, those are the only voices that really count.
It also shows something else, something deep and visceral about the KMT: its abiding contempt for both Japan and the US. Missiles flying over Taiwan aimed elsewhere can only be aimed at Japanese and US military. Clearly many within the KMT, the party that so many in the US support, are happy to have US and Japanese boys killed by Chinese missiles. Because it doesn't concern them... and makes them feel strong and powerful, because they identify with China, not the west, and not Taiwan.
The US needs to rethink its support of the KMT and the Ma Administration. Note again: these facilities and other US defense policies have the solid support of the DPP. The US is backing the wrong.... Horse.
UPDATE: Taipei Times has latest. Privately I've heard that Jieh says Washington Times put the words of others in his mouth.
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