Friday, 26 August 2011

Pentagon: China´s military build-up exceeds forecasts - Taiwan still the main focus

China´s military growth exceeds all forecasts and democratic Taiwan remains its principal focus, according to a fresh Pentagon report. Although the report does not explicitly state it, the study makes it clear that Taiwan is in desperate need on modern weaponry. However, there are clear signs that the Obama administration is not going to let Taiwan buy the F-16 fighters it would need. Obama is afraid of the reaction from communist China, and seems prepared to let down one of the oldest US allies and friends:

Its aircraft carrier program, cyber warfare capabilities and anti-satellite missiles have alarmed neighbors and Washington, the long-delayed comprehensive 84-page report says.
While the report contains nothing that is startlingly new, it is dominated by references to Taiwan. And it comes just weeks before the administration of US President Barack Obama has promised to provide an answer to Taipei’s request to buy 66 advanced F-16C/D aircraft.
This potential arms sale is not mentioned, but without actually spelling it out the study makes it abundantly clear that Taiwan is in desperate need of new weapons.
Titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2011, the annual report to Congress from the US Department of Defense makes chilling reading.
The Obama administration continues to deny that a decision has yet been made on whether or not to sell the F-16s, but unofficial sources in both Taipei and Washington are signaling that Obama will bow to Chinese pressure and not allow the sale. Instead, he seems likely to offer to modernize Taiwan’s dated F-16A/B aircraft — a move that is less objectionable to Beijing.
In Taipei, the Ministry of National Defense again urged the US government to speed up the sale of defensive weapons to Taiwan.
Ministry spokesman David Lo (羅紹和) said the report again highlighted the cross-strait military imbalance.
Based on this reasoning, Ma has repeatedly called on the US to supply defensive arms to Taiwan in accordance with the TRA, Lo said.
He said the ministry has continued in its efforts to persuade Washington to provide F-16C/D aircraft, F-16A/B upgrades and diesel-electric submarines.

Read the entire Taipei Times article here

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