- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2001

A new Senate staff report concludes that Taiwan urgently needs advanced weaponry, intelligence warning data and joint exercises with U.S. forces to counter the growing military threat from China.
"It is time to admit that continuing our current policy toward Taiwan will guarantee the destruction of that island democracy by China's rapidly expanding military forces," the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff concludes.
The report reveals the first official details of Taiwan's latest annual arms requests to the United States. It was based on visits to Taiwan last month and meetings with senior Taiwanese military, intelligence and political leaders. A copy was obtained by The Washington Times.
China's government opposes all U.S. weapons sales, and Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen is due in Washington next week.
The staff report calls for setting up direct communications between Taiwanese and U.S. militaries, including hot lines or video-conferencing between the Pentagon, the Hawaii-based Pacific Command and Taiwan's Defense Ministry.
"Ideally, an entire series of operational links should be established that allow U.S. and Taiwan aircraft, ships and shore units to communicate," the report says. "Without this, chaos will certainly ensue should hostilities break out."
It also calls for operational training programs with U.S. forces and the Taiwanese military, including joint exercises. "Taiwan's military needs to work with ours," the report says.
Taiwan wants to buy these weapons systems from the United States:
Four Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyers, to improve Taiwan's capability to defend against aircraft attacks. "Taiwan wants, and Taiwan needs, Aegis destroyers to provide it with an adequate sea-based air defense and [command and control] system to deal with rapidly developing PRC air and naval threats."
Four Kidd-class destroyers to provide a more immediate defense before the first Aegis ships are delivered in 2009.
P-3 submarine-hunting aircraft with longer-range and more accurate missiles and torpedoes that will help Taiwan counter any Chinese blockade.
High-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARM) to counter new Chinese S-300 surface-to-air missiles deployed near Taiwan.
Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and longer-range guided bombs capable of hitting land targets.
AIM-120 air-to-air missiles based in Taiwan instead of Arizona, as the Clinton administration demanded, when it approved the missile sale last year.
Aircraft identification equipment to help Taiwanese pilots avoid being shot down by mistake.
Night vision goggles and helmet-sighted air-to-air missiles, to balance similar systems recently acquired by China from Russia.
Radar-illumination detection equipment for Taiwan's domestic jet fighters and guidance systems for those fighters' missiles.
Naval ship-to-ship missiles and anti-aircraft missiles.
Submarines to counter Chinese plans to blockade the island during a conflict.
Longer-range and more accurate artillery for Taiwanese ground forces, and Apache attack helicopters equipped with advanced radar. These arms would be used by ground forces against an invading Chinese military force.
Advanced armored vehicles and tanks for use against Chinese amphibious forces.
Long-range radar systems to detect missile launches and aircraft.
Sharing of U.S. missile early warning data, like that currently provided to several Persian Gulf states and Russia.
An integrated U.S. command and control system that would allow Taiwan to conduct combined arms warfare using naval, air and ground forces.
The staff report concludes that current U.S. policy toward Taiwan is "outdated, dangerous," and could lead to a conflict between Taiwan and China that would involve the United States.
The report, written by Asia-Pacific affairs specialist Jim Doran, describes current U.S. arms policies as pro-Beijing because they avoid all sales or ties to Taipei that will upset China.
"Specifically, Taiwan desperately needs more advanced, longer-range weaponry, early warning capabilities, and better [command and control] capabilities," the report states. "It also needs several new hardware platforms, particularly submarines and advanced destroyers."
The document sets out many of the 30 items on the Taiwan government's secret list of arms requested in January, say Bush administration officials.
Disclosure of the requests comes as the Bush administration is debating whether to approve sales of advanced arms to Taiwan, reversing the policy of the Clinton administration, which sharply curbed weapons transfers as part of its friendlier relations with China.
The detailed Taiwanese weapons requests contained in the congressional report appear to be the first time Taiwan's military has broken U.S. government policy, requiring that such details be kept secret from the U.S. Congress.
"The report shows the Taiwanese military is growing more alarmed by the Chinese military buildup and is seeking help from Congress to deal with it," says one administration official.
The latest weapons requests are said to reflect a new Taiwanese defense concept of preparing to fight Chinese attackers by engaging them 50 miles off Taiwan.
According to the staff report, the Chinese military threat is growing and includes hundreds of new short-range missiles deployed along the coast, acquisition of advanced Russian ships, missiles and warplanes, and a growing "information warfare" capability the ability to attack computer-based infrastructures.
"Taiwan's military believes the [People's Liberation Army] is moving toward a quick strike …' solution' to the Taiwan 'problem' that can be effected before U.S. forces, should they be ordered to, have a chance to arrive on the scene," the report says.

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