America's suppression strategy in arms sale to Taiwan

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2015-12-24 17:15

BEIJING, Dec.23 (ChinaMil) --- The U.S. government announced December 16, 2015 that it had started the congressional review of the USD1.83 billion arms deal to Taiwan, which includes two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and Stinger ground-to-air missiles.

In fact, most of the weapon equipment isn't advanced and the 769 Stinger anti-tank missiles are especially backward.

Double control over its arms sales to Taiwan

The U.S. has always held back a little in its arms sales to Taiwan over the years. The weapons it sold to Taiwan have long been deployed in the U.S. and its allies, the technologies belong to at least a decade ago, and the technologies and weapons involved are incapable of proliferation.

In the early 1990s, Taiwan wanted F-16C and F-16D fighter jets, but the U.S. was only willing to sell type A and D fighters, which were not only outdated but also problematic with over 300 defects with cable alone.

As a result, at least five of those fighters have crashed since they were commissioned in Taiwan.

Having sold weapons to Taiwan, the U.S. continues to carry out double control through political and technical means.

For example, it strictly controls the right of use of the sold weapon, and Taiwan military isn't even allowed to independently use them without authorization.

Moreover, after the deal is completed, the Taiwan military has to report to the U.S. every year where some of the American-made weapons are stored, their inventory and amount of use, and the U.S. will irregularly send specialists to conduct field inspections.

After the "Hanguang" exercises in May 2006, American specialists checked the hit rate and destruction of Stinger missiles and counted the inventory. Later, when the Taiwan military bought 200 AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missiles, it was requested to store them in the American military base in Guam.

Having bought the new equipment, Taiwan still relies on the U.S. to provide personnel training, in which the U.S. continues to set barriers.

After Taiwan bought F-16 fighters in the 1990s, the U.S. put forth the limitation that it would train only one squadron of pilots for Taiwan a year, which can hardly meet Taiwan's demand.

Timely arms sale to suppress Taiwan's military industry

Arms sale has also become a way of suppressing the Taiwan military industry's capability of independent R&D.

Once Taiwan makes breakthroughs in the R&D of a certain weapon, the U.S. would "timely" agree to sell the same type of weapon products so as to stop Taiwan's independent R&D.

This has happened many times. When Taiwan successfully developed the Tiangong I/II missile series in 1992, the U.S. agreed to sell it the Patriot II/III missiles. When Taiwan developed the IDF fighter and obtained the Mirage fighter from France, the U.S. immediately decided to sell it the F-16.

Years later, when Taiwan developed the Sword-II missile, the U.S. agreed to sell it the offensive AIM-120. In October 2007, Taiwan's Xiong'er E missile was about to be mass-produced, and the U.S. expressed its willingness to sell it the Tomahawk cruise missile and forced Taiwan to terminate the "Jisun Program" that had cost TWD34.6 billion.

When this happened too often, Taiwan's "independent R&D" became too costly and time-consuming, so it began to attach more importance to arms purchase and overlook R&D.

As the leader of weapon R&D in Taiwan, Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology gathered a large group of elites specialized in military science and technology and had the annual fund of TWD10 billion in the 1980s. It has developed a number of successful main battle equipment such as the IDF fighter.

However, the Institute can hardly obtain any substantial R&D orders now because of Taiwan's arms purchase, and its staff has reduced from 14,000 to 6,000 people.

Arms sale to Taiwan is like poison, not only threatening the cross-strait peace and the livelihood of Taiwan people, but also making the Taiwan military eat its own bitter fruit.

For example, its "Yunbao" armored vehicle has no matching artillery, and it cannot buy matching barrels for its T93 light-duty snipers. Moreover, there is no launching vehicle for its Leiting 2000 multi-barrel launcher that was independently developed in the 1990s, which therefore became outmoded immediately after it was commissioned to the military in 2012.

The author is Yu Dong, a reporter from the opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of China Military Online website.

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