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Selling Arms To Taiwan - Our Right, Our Duty, Or Our Secret Message?

Zero Hour

New member
Jun 9, 2005
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Note: This is an article I wrote some time ago. While not everything may be absolutely up to date, the article and debate points are still valid.

A Legal Threat

Recently, China passed an anti-secessionist law allowing the Communist nation of China to employ “non-peaceful” methods to reclaim and subdue the now-Democratic island of Taiwan.
This ruling sparked outrage in the U.S. and Taiwan, as well as several of Taiwan’s allies and trading partners. In response, China urged the U.S. to “keep to the sidelines” of what they call an internal affair.
The United States of America have made no official declaration that they will aid Taiwan in resisting Chinese attacks, should Taiwan face invasion. While the U.S. has not been a mere spectator in this situation, they have remained circumspect about their true intentions.
Despite the refusal to acknowledge Taiwan’s desire for aid, the U.S. has made available billions of dollars worth of weapons. Many of these weapons have been retired from active use by the U.S. armed forces, and were sold as surplus to Taiwan.
However, many of the weapons, such as Sidewinder and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, are still at the battlefront as primary weapons in peacekeeping efforts, as well as the war on terrorism.
The weapons made available to Taiwan are all high-tech, capable weapons, which, in sufficient quantities, could advance a country’s state-of-the-art by decades. Due to Taiwan’s relatively small, poorly equipped military, the weapons sold increased Taiwan’s combat abilities tenfold, if not more.
Chinese officials have not openly confronted the U.S. about arming Taiwan, but have made it clear that, should they deem it necessary; they will use military force against Taiwan, regardless of Taiwan’s support, or lack of.
China currently has a standing army of roughly 2.25 million soldiers, with reserves of 500-600 thousand. The majority of their armed forces are Army. The People’s Republic of China has a standing army of 1.7 million people, while 250,000 are in the Navy, and 400,000 in the Air Force.
In addition, China has 1.5 million paramilitary forces that can be called on in case of emergency, and maintains the right to employ conscription during wartime.
China’s military budget has been raised five billion USD over the last three years, bringing the 2003 total to 22.4 billion. If the PRC continues in this trend, their spending will reach 30 billion by next year.
The PRC is also in control of a large number of nuclear weapons, which can be launched via Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), air-and-submarine launched cruise missiles, as well as suitcase and car bombs.

A Thriving Market

From late 1993 to early 2003, the United States of America have sold or arranged to sell or lease roughly 12.3 billion dollars worth of military hardware, licenses, parts, and munitions to Taiwan.
Over this ten-year span, Taiwan has purchased enough military supplies to completely overhaul and upgrade a naval fleet, several squadrons of land-based jet fighter squadrons, and infantry and artillery divisions.
Several of these items point strongly to giving Taiwan a clear advantage against Chinese forces, whether they come by air or by sea. Among the purchases is a pair of Ultra High Frequency long-range early warning radars. Once these radars are installed and running, Taiwan will have the ability to detect any movements of enemy fleets or air groups from hundreds of miles away, and can also detect ICBMs in-flight.
In addition to being able to detect incoming enemies, Taiwan also purchased the ability to hold out against those enemies. One of their first objectives was upgrading their air defenses.
Toward this end, they purchased 65 20mm Gatling guns to place in fighter planes of their own design, 128 ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) pods, 8 medium-range anti-aircraft missile batteries with over 150 missiles, 110 short-range AA (Anti-Aircraft) missile launchers with over one thousand missiles, 34 Kiowa Warrior and Super Cobra attack/recon helicopters, over one thousand HYDRA-70 rockets, spare parts and munitions for seven different airplanes, navigation/targeting pods for same, 18 CH-47 Chinook helicopters, 18 spare engines for same, 670 AGM-114K3 air-to-surface missiles, and 400 air-to-air missiles, among other items.
Roughly five billion dollars were spent during that ten-year period on air defenses. This total does not include the 1.776 billion dollars spent on the pair of long-range radars.
The next most significant purchase made by Taiwan was in upgrading and enhancing their navy. About a third of the ships in Taiwan’s navy are former U.S. ships that were retired and sold as surplus to Taiwan, who was eager to build up their naval forces.
Over 2.2 billion dollars were spent purchasing and leasing 9 Newport-class tank-landing ships, four Kidd class guided missile cruisers, 54 various amphibious assault ships, 16 Knox class frigates, over a thousand various anti-ship missiles and torpedoes, specialized anti-submarine targeting packages, and ammunition for Phalanx shipboard guns.
The final area of interest for Taiwan is in ground forces. While the variety of hardware is small, the numbers are not. Taiwan purchased enough hardware to keep any infantry or tank company occupied long enough to call in reinforcements. Among these systems are nearly fifteen hundred TOW anti-tank missiles, 40 JAVELIN anti-tank missiles, nearly 150 155mm self-propelled Howitzers, 330 M240 heavy machine guns, and 300 M60A3 main battle tanks.
While this lot is the cheapest of the three main areas of weaponry purchased by Taiwan, it is still extremely useful in waging warfare across any terrain found in Taiwan.

Our Duty And Our Message

Several liberal groups in Taiwan have recently said that they believe the U.S. is obligated to defend Taiwan against attack from any aggressor.
Taiwan has recently complained that the U.S. is using them as a watchdog, to keep an eye on Chinese affairs. As such, they believe that it is their right to demand that the U.S. continue to arm Taiwan, and also keep a significant presence in the waters around Taiwan.
An American naval presence may be enough to deter the PRC from attacking China directly. However, no such naval force has been relocated to Taiwanese waters as of yet. The closest American naval group is the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk flotilla, which is currently in South Korea for a training exercise. The Kitty Hawk is normally stationed at nearby Japan, roughly a thousand miles from Taiwan.
Despite unrest by their Taiwanese friends, the U.S. has refused to sanction any actions that can be construed as hostile against the People’s Republic of China. The U.S. maintains that they will continue to urge China to find a peaceful way to resolve the situation, but will not take stands to protect Taiwan against attack.
However, the 12.3 billion dollars worth of weapons sold to Taiwan could easily be seen as tacit support of Taiwan. The U.S. is denying with one face, and secretly winking to their allies with another.
This is still not enough for Taiwan, who will suffer much damage, if not a complete takeover, if China launches a surprise attack. Despite having several bases in Japan and South Korea, it would take nearly a week to mobilize sufficient forces to hold off a Chinese invasion force.
China has a native population of over 1.25 billion people, over 60 times the number of people currently living in Taiwan. Should China decide to attack, there is no doubt that Taiwan will lose, as it currently stands.
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