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Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

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Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por ·¦·Füµ®€R·¦· el Diciembre 4th 2009, 19:00

Bernabé Gutiérrez / Washington D.C sábado, 05 de diciembre de 2009

La isla de Taiwán tiene una larga historia de disputas sobre su soberanía. En 1895 la derrota militar China obligó a cederla a Japón. Tras la segunda guerra mundial China recuperaría su control, aunque brevemente. La victoria de los comunistas de Mao Zedong en 1949 hizo que 2 millones de "Nacionalistas" huyeran a la isla de Taiwán para establecer su propio gobierno, bajo la Constitución de 1946 que se había establecido para toda China.

El adelanto democrático, social y económico de Taiwán ha sido espectacular; sin embargo, la cuestión de su estatus político-legal continúa siendo motivo de fricción no solamente en la política nacional taiwanesa sino en su relación hacia el exterior. El papel de Estados Unidos es considerado fundamental para una posible solución del conflicto entre las partes.

China y Taiwán mantienen diferencias sobre el principio de "Una China". Según este principio, la República Popular de China afirma que sólo hay "una China y que Taiwán es parte inalienable de ella". Pekín dice que Taiwán está obligado a reconocer dicho principio por el consenso alcanzado en 1992 entre los representantes de ambos gobiernos en Hong Kong, el denominado Consenso de 1992. Por otra parte, Taiwán afirma que dicho Consenso está abierto a interpretación y es un punto de partida para futuras negociaciones.

En el plano estadounidense, la fricción ha surgido de nuevo con la solicitud por parte de Taiwán a la Casa Blanca de la compra de aviones de combate F-16. Petición que desde Taiwán se ve como lógica pues entraría en el programa de modernización y sustitución de la anterior flota, según un oficial de ministerio de defensa taiwanés.

En 1979, Estados Unidos restableció las relaciones con Beijing y firmó un comunicado conjunto que reafirmó la política de una sola China. Según este documento, "el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos de América reconoce la posición de China, que sólo hay una China y que Taiwán es parte de China". Sin embargo, y apenas unos meses más tarde, Estados Unidos elaboró la "Ley de Relaciones con Taiwán" de 1979, en la que Estados Unidos reafirma su apoyo al sistema democrático de la isla de Taiwán. Es a partir de entonces cuando las fricciones comienzan, ya que la defensa del sistema democrático de Taiwán ha conllevado la venta de armas y sistemas de defensa.

Por su parte, China ha desplegado misiles balísticos a lo largo del Estrecho de Taiwán y continúa modernizando tanto sus fuerzas balísticas como su capacidad de asalto anfibio; mientras que Taiwán mantiene la compra de armamento, principalmente en Estados Unidos. En el periodo 2000-2007, Taiwán recibió $8,4 billones en sistemas de defensa, de los cuales la mitad proceden de Estados Unidos. Según el servicio de investigación del Congreso, Izar (hoy Navantia) habría pujado por conseguir varios contratos con el Departamento de la Marina en el 2001.

El gasto militar en defensa por parte de China sigue preocupando a las autoridades de Taipei. Según datos del Congreso, China habría aumentado en un número de 38 submarinos, 13 destructores, 16 fragatas, buques de apoyo y docenas de aviones a su Armada en la última década. Otros serían buques anti-misiles diseñados especialmente para contrarrestar los portaviones norteamericanos. En caso de una crisis en dicha zona, la mejora de las fuerzas navales de China "podría impedir el acceso de las fuerzas norteamericanas a la región", señala el Congreso. Acción por parte de China que podría darse en un caso hipotético si la política doméstica taiwanesa tomara el camino de la independencia "legal y constitucional" o si China necesitara desviar la atención por problemas en su política doméstica. Ambos escenarios a día de hoy poco probables pero no improbables.

Con la llegada al poder del presidente de Taiwán, Ma Ying-jeou (Partido Nacionalista de Taiwán, KMT) han mejorado de forma considerable las relaciones con China. Destaca la participación de Taiwán como observador en la Asamblea Mundial de la Salud, Organización Mundial de la Salud, en mayo de 2009, bajo el nombre de "China Taipei". Algo que no ocurría desde 1971.

En palabras de Howard L. Berman, demócrata por California y presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Congreso: "Estados Unidos y Taiwán comparten una estrecha colaboración basada en intereses y principios comunes, que incluyen la democracia y la protección de la seguridad y la paz en la región". Mientras que Hu Jintao ha sido categórico en la posición de China: "Nunca permitiremos que nadie separe Taiwán de China".

Raymond Burghardt, considerado uno de los mayores expertos en las relaciones Taiwán-China, considera que "ambas partes están de acuerdo en negociar los problemas fáciles, como el comercio y el transporte, y dejar los asuntos duros, como el reconocimiento internacional, para fases posteriores". Además, Burghardt predice que el acercamiento seguirá pero sin llegar a la unificación con China o la independencia de Taiwán.

Según la agencia de inteligencia norteamericana, CIA, Taiwán mantiene disputas territoriales con China sobre las Islas Spratly (junto a Brunei, Malasia, Filipinas y Vietnam); las Islas Paracel, ocupadas por China, pero reclamadas por Taiwán y Vietnam; y las Islas Sensaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai).

Taiwán mantiene relaciones diplomáticas 23 países, de los cuales 11 son de Centroamérica y 1 de Europa, El Vaticano.

Fuente: Revista Atenea
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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por TU-160 Tupolev el Diciembre 5th 2009, 12:49

Por que sera que solo con 23 paises?
Sera que de las casi 200 naciones del planeta solo esas lo reconocen?
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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por icitizenmx el Diciembre 5th 2009, 13:09

TU-160 Tupolev escribió:Por que sera que solo con 23 paises?
Sera que de las casi 200 naciones del planeta solo esas lo reconocen?

Efectivamente, reconocen a Taiwan como un Estado Independiente, pero según los acuerdos firmados desde hace años, Taiwan es una provincia de China.

México no reconoce a Taiwan como Estado Independiente.
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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por TU-160 Tupolev el Diciembre 5th 2009, 13:29

icitizenmx escribió:
TU-160 Tupolev escribió:Por que sera que solo con 23 paises?
Sera que de las casi 200 naciones del planeta solo esas lo reconocen?

Efectivamente, reconocen a Taiwan como un Estado Independiente, pero según los acuerdos firmados desde hace años, Taiwan es una provincia de China.

México no reconoce a Taiwan como Estado Independiente.

Justo iba a preguntar sobre si Mexico reconoce a Taiwan, buen dato
Gracias! bravo
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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por icitizenmx el Diciembre 5th 2009, 13:34

TU-160 Tupolev escribió:
icitizenmx escribió:
TU-160 Tupolev escribió:Por que sera que solo con 23 paises?
Sera que de las casi 200 naciones del planeta solo esas lo reconocen?

Efectivamente, reconocen a Taiwan como un Estado Independiente, pero según los acuerdos firmados desde hace años, Taiwan es una provincia de China.

México no reconoce a Taiwan como Estado Independiente.

Justo iba a preguntar sobre si Mexico reconoce a Taiwan, buen dato
Gracias! bravo

Te imaginas el grave problema que tendría México al enviar por lo menos un Encargado de Negocios a Taiwan.

Saludos doubletap
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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por mossad el Diciembre 5th 2009, 16:59

Mientras China no sea democratica va a estar en chino para que los taiwaneses cedan sus libertades de las que gozan desde hace mucho,China con todo y su rapido desarrollo economico no deja de ser un estado policial en el que el gobierno vigila y castiga a los disidentes.

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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por icitizenmx el Diciembre 5th 2009, 21:28

mossad escribió:Mientras China no sea democratica va a estar en chino para que los taiwaneses cedan sus libertades de las que gozan desde hace mucho,China con todo y su rapido desarrollo economico no deja de ser un estado policial en el que el gobierno vigila y castiga a los disidentes.

Además que sucedería lo mismo con Seúl si se unifican las dos Koreas: las economías de Taiwan y de Seúl se irian por un caño.
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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por NIC-SAS el Diciembre 5th 2009, 21:46

China terminara reincorporando a Taiwan, de hecho uno de los principales paises que invierte en China es... Taiwan. Muy probablemente sera como sucedio con Hong Kong, crear una autonomia que beneficie a todos, sin dejar de lado que China esta por alcanzar el estatus de segunda economia del mundo, al menos en el monto de su PIB.
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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Julio 3rd 2014, 11:37


China's Dangerous Taiwan Gambit

"The next assault on Taiwan, in the minds of Beijing officials, will be the final one."
Gordon G. Chang

July 3, 2014
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On Friday evening, in the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, members of the Black Island Nation Youth Front threw white paint and ghost money at Zhang Zhijun’s car. The demonstrators missed the director of Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, but they splattered his security guards.

Protesters, some peaceful and others violent, dogged Zhang from the beginning to the end of his four-day tour of the self-governing island. On Saturday, three events, including a trip to a fair at a temple, were cancelled, in the words of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, “due to twists and turns.”

The demonstrations last week were not as large, nor the disturbances as serious, as those occurring during the November 2008 visit of Chen Yunlin, then the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Taiwan. Yet the changed tone this time was not a sign of growing acceptance of China as some have said. This time, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, sensing victory in upcoming elections, did not call for mass action as it did six years ago.

Zhang, despite the generally unfriendly reception, termed his trip “historic,” and in a sense it had been. He was the most senior Chinese official to visit the island in 65 years. Yet his tour showed that Beijing was even further away from its goal of absorbing Taiwan as the 34th province of the People’s Republic of China, and the unfavorable reception looks like it will force China to make its final push to absorb Taiwan at this time.

On the eve of Zhang’s visit, Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Fan Liqing said the future of the island “must be decided by all Chinese people, including Taiwanese compatriots.”

Those words did not sit well in the small democracy because most Taiwanese consider their society separate and apart from China’s. Taiwan’s officials, whether from the ruling Kuomintang or opposition Democratic Progressive Party, told Zhang the same thing. “I asked him to respect the Taiwan-centric view of the Taiwanese public,” said Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu after meeting Beijing’s envoy, referring to Fan’s remarks.

In fact, Fan’s declaration showed how tone deaf—or arrogant—the Chinese are now when it comes to Taiwan. Whatever the case, Zhang showed Beijing’s fundamental insincerity. The Taiwan Affairs Office billed his visit as an opportunity to “listen to the voice of the Taiwanese people at the grass root level.”

The Taiwanese were speaking, but Zhang was not hearing. After returning to China, he spoke as if he did not comprehend a single word during the four days. “This visit received an enthusiastic welcome from all circles and peoples in Taiwan,” he said. “Despite differing voices, the popular will is extremely clear.” And what is the popular will? “Everyone universally believes that peaceful development of cross-strait relations is the correct path and brings real benefits to people on both sides,” Zhang maintained. “Everyone believes we should continue down this path.”

If that’s what Zhang thinks he must say, Beijing is in trouble. Chinese officials cannot acknowledge that their views about what they call “reunification”—and what the Taiwanese term “unification” as their state has never been part of the People’s Republic—are deeply unpopular on the island. And it seems that the harder China tries to promote political union, the less the people on Taiwan want it.

Up to now, Beijing’s strategy has been to promote economic integration as a prelude to political merger. At Beijing’s urging, China and Taiwan have signed 21 cross-Strait economic agreements in the last six years, during President Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency. Yet as commercial dealings have increased dramatically, the Taiwanese have pulled away from their large neighbor, and it seems that each tie-up has been more controversial than the preceding one.

Especially unpopular has been the Cross-Strait Agreement on Trade in Services, signed in June 2013 but not yet ratified by Taiwan. To prevent ratification, hundreds of students, later dubbed the Sunflower Movement, occupied the Legislative Yuan for 24 days beginning in the middle of March. Thousands of Taiwanese outside the legislature supported the action.

Zhang was supposed to visit then but had to postpone. The Kuomintang did not even want him to come last week as the Legislative Yuan was considering the pact, but Zhang insisted on making the trip then. Why? Leonard Chu, a retired professor of National Chengchi University in Taipei, thinks the Chinese envoy wanted to show the world that “the two sides are moving closer in spite of the Sunflower Movement earlier this year.”

Beijing can manage perceptions all it wants, but the overriding reality is that the overwhelming majority of people on the island do not want to become a part of the People’s Republic. Survey after survey show that only single-digit percentages of Taiwan’s population favor political union across the Taiwan Strait. In fact, many on the island do not even see themselves as “Chinese,” and over time Taiwan identity has steadily advanced. According to a poll released in April where respondents had to pick either “Taiwanese” or “Chinese,” 88.4% chose the former, with Taiwan identity strongest in the 20-29 age cohort.

Naturally, most of the island’s people, who make up one of the world’s most vibrant democracies, believe they have the right to determine their own fate. Beijing, on the other hand, disagrees. Xi Jinping, the newish leader of China, is forcing the issue, issuing a warning in the beginning of October of last year when he met Taiwan envoy Vincent Siew. “Increasing mutual political trust across the Taiwan Straits and jointly building up political foundations are crucial for ensuring the peaceful development of relations,” Xi said, according to remarks paraphrased by Beijing’s official Xinhua News Agency. “Looking further ahead, the issue of political disagreements that exist between the two sides must reach a final resolution, step by step, and these issues cannot be passed on from generation to generation.”

The words worried Taiwan watchers. For instance, Gerrit van der Wees, editor of the Washington-based political journal Taiwan Communique, at the time said that Xi was “pushing Taiwan hard into a corner.”

Beijing leaders evidently think their window for peaceful political integration with Taiwan is closing. Taiwan’s President Ma, who looks like he wants to stitch up a political deal with Beijing, has an approval rating hovering around ten percent, about the same percentage who want unification with China.

The next presidential election in Taiwan is in 2016, and many in the Chinese leadership apparently worry that Ma’s unpopularity will mean the generally Beijing-friendly Kuomintang will lose its hold on power. Therefore, China’s officials apparently think they will have to act while Ma remains in office, their last chance to grab sovereignty.

Randall Schriver, president of Project 2049 Institute and former deputy assistant secretary of state for Asia, met with Zhang in Beijing last month. He sees a new attitude in the Chinese capital where officials are eager to move beyond discussions of economic union. “I think China would be satisfied if at the end of Ma’s term they could say a process had been agreed, meetings had started, and there was conversation between the two sides on political issues,” he told an audience in Washington last month.

Given that Beijing has become increasingly aggressive in past months, that’s an optimistic view. China probably aims to achieve quicker results, especially because, due to Zhang’s visit, Beijing surely knows that opposition to political union is widespread and deep. So we should expect China to move on Taiwan soon and seek to absorb the island before Ma leaves office. After all, Xi Jinping thinks a political solution cannot be deferred to the next generation and he must now know that union would be impossible if the DPP wins in 2016.

The next assault on Taiwan, in the minds of Beijing officials, will be the final one.



Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China. Follow him on Twitter: @GordonGChang.

Image: Flickr/presidential office/CC by-nc-nd 2.0
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/chinas-dangerous-taiwan-gambit-10798?page=2

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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por Lanceros de Toluca el Julio 4th 2014, 00:40

the generally Beijing-friendly Kuomintang will lose its hold on power

Que Chiang Kai Shek se salga de la tumba y me muerda un huevo.

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Re: Estados Unidos, Taiwán y China, un conflicto latente

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Enero 4th 2015, 18:24


How Taiwan Would Defend Against a Chinese Attack

By: Kyle Mizokami
March 26, 2014 6:52 AM



On March 6, Taiwan’s Minister of National Defense Yen Ming told the national legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee the country’s military could hold out “at least one month” alone against a Chinese invasion.

The estimate was a sharp reminder of how much the strategic equation has turned against Taiwan.

The days of Taiwan being an impregnable fortress appear to be over. China’s growing military, coupled with declining defense budgets in Taiwan, have shifted the balance of power to the point where defeat in an invasion scenario — barring foreign intervention — is now inevitable.

Despite daunting odds — Taiwan continues to build a military uniquely prepared for an asymmetric war with China.

65 Year Old Standoff

Flag_map_of_China_&_TaiwanTaiwan’s defenses are different from most countries because of the nature of its strategic position. Few countries see the need for surface-to-air missiles in land-based silos, nearly four-dozen fast missile boats, and a mountain hollowed out to shelter fighter aircraft.

Mainland China sees the island 110 miles away as a rogue province — one that is only separated temporarily. China has not only oriented a considerable amount of military force against Taiwan but also politically isolated the island around the world.

Taiwan figures in China’s long-term strategic planning. It is part of China’s so-called First Island Chain, the innermost defensive ring of islands that China considers essential for national defense. In the long term, controlling the island is in China’s interests both to shield the mainland and as a springboard to operate into the Second Island Chain.

China does not actively seek to invade Taiwan, but its military buildup is useful in intimidating Taiwan and would be necessary if a decision was made to invade. Military power could also be used in situations short of all-out war, such as a blockade or some other demonstration of strength.

The Republic of China’s armed forces number approximately 290,000, with 130,000 in the army, 45,000 in the navy and marine corps, and approximately 80,000 in the air force. Traditionally the army has been the dominant service, but that has shifted over the years. Taiwan’s military doctrine states that as much of any fighting that occurs should take place as far from population centers as possible. The army is only relevant once the enemy lands on the island, while the navy and air force can range over the strait.

Defense spending is 15.7 percent of the national budget. At roughly $10.5 billion, Taiwan’s 2014 defense budget represents 2.54 percent of GDP, down from 2.7 percent in 2013.

President Ma Ying-jeou has repeatedly promised to spend three percent of GDP on defense, but the global economic crisis of 2007-8 damaged Taiwan’s economy and like many the nation is still recovering.

Naval Power: Small Ships for Big Targets

The Republic of China Navy (RoCN) has transitioned from the most neglected arm of the Taiwanese military to the most important. The RoCN alone can defeat an invasion fleet at sea. Sinking amphibious transports not only takes a large ground force out of action, but also permanently degrades the enemy’s amphibious capability.

Taiwanese Navy Destroyer Suao
Taiwanese Navy Destroyer Suao

The RoCN has 26 large surface combatants, all of which have a potent anti-ship capability. The largest ships in the fleet are the four Kee Lung-class guided-missile destroyers, formerly the U.S. Kidd class destoyers.

At about 10,000 tons, each destroyer sports two Mk.26 twin surface to air missile (SAM) launch systems armed with Standard SM-2 Block IIIA surface-to-air missiles, two Mk. 45 127mm guns, four Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles and has a helicopter flight deck and hangar.

The remaining large surface vessels are a mixture of American and French designs.

Cheng Kung class frigates
Cheng Kung class frigates

The eight Cheung Kung class of guided missile frigates are a modified version of the long-hull Oliver Hazard Perry class. The class is armed with a Mk.13 missile launcher forward, capable of firing SM-1MR surface-to-air and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and a 76mm Oto Melara gun amidships.

The frigates also carry 8 Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles, giving the small ships a powerful anti-ship capability. Each carries an S-70 Thunderhawk helicopter, an export variant of the SH-60B Seahawk.

Taiwan has eight frigates of the former U.S. Knox class destroyers, now the Chi Yang class. The ships mount the original armament of one Mk. 45 127mm gun and one ASROC launcher. The Chi Yang class has also been retrofitted with ten SM-1MR surface-to-air missiles in external canister launchers. The ships each carry one MD-500 ASW helicopter.

ROCN_kang_ding_classRounding out large surface combatants are the Kang Ting-class frigates. A modification of the La Fayette design, the Kang Ting frigates mount one 76mm gun and a navalized Chaparral missile launcher for air defense. 8 Hsiung Feng anti-ship missiles are carried, and typically one S-70 Thunderhawk helicopter.

Taiwan has made a significant investment in small, fast missile patrol craft designed to take on much larger Chinese surface and amphibious ships. Twelve missile patrol combatants of the Jing Chiang class were built — each 680 tons fully loaded — with a 76mm gun and mine-laying racks.

There are also 34 smaller ships of the 150 ton Kung Hua VI project. Ships of both classes are each equipped with 4 Hsiung Feng anti-ship missiles. This diminutive fleet collectively weighs just over 13,000 tons but altogether packs a total of 184 anti-ship missiles.

The RoCN’s submarine fleet consists of just four aging submarines. Two are of the U.S. Navy Tench class, Hai Shih and Hai Pao. Both were launched toward the end of the World War II and are used as training vessels. The other two submarines, Hai Hung and Hai Hu, are a Dutch design of mid-1980s vintage. Displacing 2,600 tons submerged, they were upgraded in 2013 with Harpoon II anti-ship missiles.

chung-ho-image5Taiwan has a modest-sized amphibious force, designed to move army and marine units by sea during wartime. The force is built around one dock landing ship formerly of the Anchorage class, Shui Hai, and two tank landing ships formerly of the Newport News class, Chung Ho and Chung Ping. The force can land up to four companies of AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles or main battle tanks, and two companies of infantry.

Air Power Designed to Withstand a Siege
The Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) is optimized for air superiority. China could not successfully invade without seizing air superiority, and as a result Taiwan’s air force is seen as one of the primary deterrents to Chinese military action.

Taiwan’s fighters were state of the art in the 1990s, when most of the aircraft were purchased. Time and China’s air power buildup have eroded their technological edge — opening up the possibility that China could successfully contest air superiority over the island.

0230qThe RoCAF currently has 146 F-16 A/B Block 20 multirole fighters, armed with AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. It also operates 55 Mirage 2000 multirole fighters, armed with Magic air-to-air missiles. Rounding out Taiwan’s main fighter inventory are 126 Ching-kuo Indigenous Fighters, armed with locally developed Sky Sword II air-to-air missiles.

The Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite program, meant to upgrade both U.S. and Taiwanese F-16s with advanced AESA radar systems, is going forward without U.S. Air Force participation, which was pulled this month at the last minute. Washington has reassured Taiwan that the cost differential will be minimal and the upgrade program can proceed.

Taiwan’s fleet of support aircraft includes six E-2 Hawkeye airborne early-warning and air-control aircraft upgraded with APS-145 radars. One C-130 Hercules transport was converted into to an electronic warfare platform, while two RoCN S-70 Thunderhawks have been configured as signals intelligence collection aircraft.

P-3C Orion
P-3C Orion

Taiwan has for a long time lacked a strong maritime patrol aircraft force. Under the navy, a modest force of 20 S-2 Trackers in the 1990s is being replaced by a dozen P-3C Orions. The first Orion arrived in November 2013 and the last is scheduled to arrive in 2015.

In the event of war, the RoCAF’s air bases will come under heavy air attack, both by aircraft and missiles. China’s Second Artillery Corps has an estimated 1,500 conventionally armed short range ballistic missiles, many of which will likely be used in the counter-air role. Estimates are that it would take 50 direct hits to close a RoCAF air base to air operations.

The RoCAF is prepared to keep air bases open while under attack. Taiwan has the Rapid Runway Repair System, used by the U.S. Air Force, to repair runways damaged by enemy attack. The RoCAF also has the Portarrest P-IV mobile aircraft arresting system for landing aircraft on damaged runways.

The RoCAF has invested considerable resources in hardening base facilities. Chiashan Air Base, on the island’s eastern coast, includes a hollowed-out mountain that serves as a refuge for up to 100 Mirage 2000-5 and F-16 fighters. Two airfields serving the base are both at least 7,500 feet long. Chiashan is also a designated command post for counterattacks mounted by Taiwan against invading forces.

A second facility buried inside a mountain is Hengshan Command Center. Located on the outskirts of Taipei, Hengshan was completed in 1982 and serves as the national military command center in both peace and war. In wartime, it serves as the seat of Taiwan’s civilian government.

The air force also operates the nationwide air defense network, with 11 early warning sites overall. Main air defense is provided by Taiwan’s indigenously produced Tien Kung II surface-to-air missiles. Radar guided, Tien Kung II has a range of 125 miles and is deployed at six bases, four on Taiwan and two on nearby island groups.

Each base includes 80 missiles in underground silos and two target illumination radars. A range of 125 miles means Tien Kung missiles could theoretically engage targets over the mainland.

PAC-2 Patriot missile battery
PAC-2 Patriot missile battery

Taiwan also has seven Patriot missile batteries, which are converting from PAC-2 to PAC-3 status. Patriot missiles are concentrated around the cities of Taipei, Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung.

Future Trends: Missiles, Submarines And Volunteers

Smaller defense budgets and an overwhelming Chinese conventional force have moved Taiwan toward asymmetrical systems and an anti-access, area denial capability all its own. Rather than matching China ship for ship and plane for plane, Taiwan is fielding systems that imperil China’s ability to operate in the Taiwan Strait.

Model of Hsun Hai missile corvette
Model of Hsun Hai missile corvette

One such example is the Hsun Hai, or “Swift Sea” program of small missile corvettes. The catamarans are capable of 38 knots and designed to have a minimal radar signature.

Armed with eight Hsiung Feng II and Hsuing Feng III anti-ship missiles, the corvettes have been dubbed “carrier killers” by the Taiwanese media. The first, Tuo River, was commissioned on March 14 and expected to be operational by mid-2015. Twelve ships are planned.

Submarines stand to be a key pillar of Taiwan’s asymmetrical approach. “After Taiwan has lost air and sea control, it’s the subs that will still be able to attack groups of amphibious landing aircraft,” Wang Jyh-perng, RoCN reserve captain told the Asia Times in 2011. However, no diesel-electric submarine builder — facing pressure from China — will sell Taiwan new submarines.

A 1980s vintage Hai-lang submarine, built in the Netherlands and operated by the Republic of China Navy. ROC Photo
A 1980s vintage Hai-lang submarine, built in the Netherlands and operated by the Republic of China Navy. ROC Photo

In January, Taiwan’s navy headquarters announced a 15-year upgrade plan for naval forces. Under the plan, a local shipbuilder has been directed to determine the feasibility of locally built submarines by June of this year. The project will not likely to succeed without outside help.

Another trend is the planned transition from a conscript military to an all-volunteer military. Social trends are undermining the existing draft system, as the system is growing unpopular and demographics are lowering the pool of potential manpower. Yet all-volunteer forces have dramatically higher personnel costs, and Taiwan’s defense budget has remained low. If Taiwan cannot offset these costs with additional defense spending, it seems inevitable the military will face a new round of reductions.

The Way Forward

031bbgTaiwan is playing a difficult hand. Seceding from the mainland outright would likely invoke a military response and anger its only ally, the United States. Matching China militarily is no longer possible, as China outspends Taiwan in defense 13 to 1. A hardline stance is increasingly unviable.

On the other hand, strong ideological differences still make reunification unpalatable to many Taiwanese. Taiwan is taking the middle ground of trying to maintain its economic position and higher standard of living relative to China, while deterring invasion by tailoring its military to specific threats. Taiwan may not be spending as much on defense as it should, but it has accepted the strategic realities, and that may well be the more difficult of the two.
http://news.usni.org/2014/03/26/taiwan-defend-chinese-attack

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

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