Special Commentary: Inconsistent U.S. Defense Priorities Undermine Taiwan Force Modernization

The US-Taiwan Business Council issues a statement commenting on Taiwan’s Counter-strike Missile Program and U.S. policy towards Taiwan Force Modernization

In the early part of 2007, the Bush Administration tacked a new course on Taiwan’s counter-strike missile program. The new heading was triggered by Ministry of National Defense testimony in the Legislative Yuan (LY) on the fiscal demands for further research, development, and limited deployment of the indigenous HF-2E counter-strike missile – over US$1 billion between 2008 and 2012.

The Bush Administration’s new direction vis-à-vis Taiwan’s counter-strike effort is driven by their increasingly negative view of Taiwan and of its role as a reliable partner in Asia. Rather than consider the tactical and strategic nature of such a capability, the Bush Administration has chosen to focus on the behavior of outgoing Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian as the principal driver for its cross-Strait threat assessment. It has become about politics, not about the balance of power across the Strait. Regrettably, this short term view is impacting programs that should play a critical role in Taiwan’s ability to counter a PRC attack well after President Chen has retired. The denial of a second batch of F-16s to replace aging Vietnam era platforms, and the turnaround on support for Taiwan’s counter-strike missile programs are at the forefront.

Editorial in Defense News (PDF)
Special Commentary: Inconsistent U.S. Defense Priorities Undermine Taiwan Force Modernization (PDF)

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