US think tank proposes shake-up of Taiwan defense
Associated Press By MATTHEW PENNINGTON
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fears of war between Taiwan and China have eased in recent years, but the growing gap in their military capabilities has prompted a U.S. think tank to lay out a radical new approach in how Taiwan could defend itself if China invaded, relying less on conventional forces and more on guerrilla-style tactics and cyberwarfare.
The nongovernment Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments is wading into delicate territory. Relations have between democratic Taiwan and communist-governed China have improved as they have forged economic agreements — a development welcomed by the United States.
Washington, however, remains obligated by U.S. law to provide Taiwan the means to defend itself. U.S. lawmakers have accused the Obama administration of refusing to sell Taiwan new fighter jets and submarines for fear of angering Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the self-governing island.
Congress last week approved the possible sale of four U.S. frigates to Taiwan, drawing Chinese criticism, but Taiwan shows growing willingness to develop its own hardware. On Tuesday, it launched a stealthy, missile-launching corvette, the first of ship of its kind produced by Taiwan.
But China’s rapid military modernization has exposed a widening gulf between its forces and those on Taiwan, which spent $10.8 billion on its defense in 2013. According to a U.S. Defense Department estimate, China’s military spending that year was $145 billion.
“With the resource gap approaching fourteen-to-one, even if Taiwan were to massively increase its defense budget, it would not reverse the cumulative advantages the PRC has accrued over the past two decades,” said the center’s report, released this week. PRC stands for the communist-governed People’s Republic of China.
A U.S. congressional advisory panel reported last month that China has about 2,100 combat aircraft and 280 naval ships available for a Taiwan conflict, and more 1,100 short-range ballistic missiles that could incapacitate Taiwan’s air force in the early hours of a conflict. Taiwan has about 410 combat aircraft and 90 naval combat ships.
The center advocates an “asymmetric approach,” with Taiwan using lighter forces to counter rather than match China’s strengths. While Taiwan increasingly emphasizes such tactics, its military modernization plan still calls for big, conventional acquisitions, the report says.
For a fraction of the cost of building eight large diesel submarines that Taiwan is also planning, it could produce a fleet of 42 “midget submarines” similar in size to craft that North Korea and Iran have, the report says. These submarines could provide warning and targeting data for anti-ship cruise missiles deployed on mobile launchers resembling trucks hauling shipping containers.
To combat Chinese fighter planes, the report proposes “guerrilla” air defense, using hundreds of surface-to-air missiles — a tactic it says proved effective for North Vietnam against the United States during the Vietnam War. And if Chinese forces make it on land, guerrilla tactics to harass the occupying forces would slow their advance toward Taipei. It says cyberwar against Chinese battle networks would also be one of Taiwan’s viable deterrents and “cost-imposing strategies.”
The report’s authors say asymmetric approaches toward defense would reduce Taiwanese dependence on U.S. armaments, and should also appeal to other neighbors concerned over China’s military buildup.
Nations like Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia “have territorial disputes with China and face many of the same challenges responding to the rapid Chinese military modernization looming over Taiwan,” the report says.
People always underestimate the difficulty of acheiveing a beachhead with a well armed and placed adversary, especially if it knows the likely landing point and has some sort of warning. The Taiwan Strait is over 100 miles wide, it would not be an easy, or quick amphibious operation for China. Many ships would be lost, and many troops killed on shore. An airborne assault is almost pointless. Taiwan is too large and well organized, any airborne landings by light infantry would be encircled and destroyed. Taiwan can hold off for several weeks until the US can intervene, it is the only strategy.
USA committed them self to defend Taiwan against aggression from PRC. USA aggression budget is $ 600 billions, four time bigger from PRC defense budget. Taiwan defense budget of $ 10 billions is irrelevant, and Taiwan has no chance to defend itself if it was attacked and occupied by China. The best choice for Taiwan will be peaceful unification with mainland through economic integration, and close cooperation in all fields. Chinese from both sides are pragmatic
and they prefer peace over war. Only USA is pushing for war, as it is only way to sell arms, and keep their dominance over other countries.
1st off any move by China would be destabilizing. they must build up a plot like nukes in Iraq then justify the reason for the evasion with the plot. USeless, I mean US involvement is more destabilizing globally. China nuke subs r controlled by mainland. right. they probably have the go ahead launch order already. if not sum patriotic Chinese sailor will not let mainland turn into a target range for US missiles n bombs. they have been at odds for 1000 + years a mediator want work.
Chinese subs, to include Nuclear war headed missiles under water, are controlled by the commander of each said vessel. Therefore, one leader is not necessary to win their battles, only smart leaders of each vessel. Ancient Chinese lesson…he who start #$%$ with no paper, must wipe own #$%$ with whatever he has !
Just To Be Fair
Is it our policy to destabilize the world so that they need us?