Category Archive: Media Center

The Trump Administration Announces U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

The US-Taiwan Business Council today welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of State to announce its approval of seven possible Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan, with a total value of US$1.363 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certifications notifying Congress of the proposed Taiwan arms sales on June 29, 2017. A direct commercial sale was also notified, bringing the total to approximately US$1.4 billion.

The published FMS Congressional Notifications (transmittal numbers 16-67, 16-68, 16-69, 16-70, 16-73, 16-74, and 16-75) were for SM-2 Block IIIA All-Up Rounds, associated equipment and technical support (US$125 million); MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo Conversion Kits, spare parts and other support and assistance (US$175 million); MK 48 Mod 6AT Heavyweight Torpedoes, other support, spare parts, training, and assistance (US$250 million); Hardware, software, and other upgrades to the AN/SLQ-32(V)3 Electronic Warfare Systems supporting Taiwan’s KEELUNG Class destroyers (US$80 million); AGM-154C JSOW Air-to-Ground Missiles, spare/repair parts and other support and assistance (US$185.5 million); AGM-88B HARMs and Training HARMs, spare/repair parts, testing, and other support and assistance (US$147.5 million); SRP Operations and Maintenance follow-on sustainment (US$400 million).

The US-Taiwan Business Council welcomes these Congressional notifications in adherence to the Taiwan Relations Act, which obligates the U.S. to help enable Taiwan’s self-defense. However, it has been 562 days since the last arms sale to Taiwan in late 2015. The Council questions the impact that delays in consideration and execution of Taiwan arms requests are having on the island’s ability to maintain its self-defense capabilities.

Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers noted that “support for Taiwan remains an essential aspect of the U.S. national security posture in Asia, particularly as increased cross-Strait tensions would fundamentally threaten stability in the region. The U.S. is legally and historically committed to providing Taiwan with arms of sufficient quantity and quality to provide for its own self-defense. Arms sales have long been a mainstay of U.S. security relations with the island, supporting U.S. efforts to deter coercion from the PRC and help provide for Taiwan’s self-determination.

Hammond-Chambers added “The Council supports the return to a normal and regular process for assessing all Taiwan arms sales requests and sales. Packaging several years’ worth of items drives up the overall dollar value of each tranche of notifications. Each Taiwan arms sale also becomes a rare and compelling event, drawing significantly more attention than it might otherwise garner. This creates a more substantial opportunity for Chinese protests and posturing in response to each sale, protests that have had a deterrent effect on U.S. willingness to release needed but advanced systems to Taiwan – such as new-build fighters and submarines. It would be in the U.S. interest to provide less of an impetus for Chinese protests in response to Taiwan arms sales, and moving away from packaging would be a substantial step in the right direction.

The Trump Administration Announces U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

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U.S. Senators Urge President Trump to Support Taiwan’s Self Defense Capabilities

In a June 23, 2017 letter to President Donald Trump, Senators Benjamin Cardin, John Cornyn, James Inhofe, Edward Markey, John McCain, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, and Ron Wyden urge President Trump to adopt a policy of regular, robust, and consistent support for Taiwan’s self-defense efforts in the face of ongoing military aggression by China and the growing cross-Strait military imbalance.

The letter enumerated three areas that require attention from the White House. The release of pending Taiwan arms sales programs currently awaiting Congressional notification; ending the practice of bundling Taiwan arms sales, instead establishing a regular and routine process whereby notifications would be sent to Congress when ready; and quickly and robustly addressing Taiwan’s significant and legitimate future requirements for new defense capabilities.

The Senators noted that the U.S. should not allow concerns about China to take precedence over support for Taiwan. They also commented that “China has intensified its economic coercion and military intimidation tactics, thereby stoking cross-Strait tensions and threatening peace and security in the Taiwan Strait. Given these circumstances, our support for Taiwan is more important than ever.”

Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President of the US-Taiwan Business Council, said “This letter is a welcome and positive development. The recent cross-Strait dynamics have been increasingly unstable due to coercive Chinese behavior and waning U.S. support. U.S. policy toward Taiwan requires sustained, focused, and determined engagement on Taiwan’s military modernization. The Council is pleased to see the Senate maintain its ongoing leadership on matters impacting U.S. relations with Taiwan, a core U.S. friend and ally in Northeast Asia. Such U.S. support for Taiwan serves to protect peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is a core strategic interest of the United States.

A copy of the letter is attached, and can also be downloaded from the Council’s website at www.us-taiwan.org.

U.S. Senators Urge President Trump to Support Taiwan’s Self Defense Capabilities (PDF)

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2017 – Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China

The U.S. Department of Defense has released its annual report to Congress on the military power of China.
2017 – Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (PDF)

One major section is called Force Modernization for a Taiwan Contingency.

 

The PLA continues to develop and deploy military capabilities intended to coerce Taiwan or to attempt an invasion, if necessary. These improvements pose major challenges to Taiwan’s security, which has historically been rooted in the PLA’s inability to project power across the 100 nm Taiwan Strait, the natural geographic advantages of island defense, Taiwan’s armed forces’ technological superiority, and the possibility of U.S. intervention.

China appears prepared to defer the use of force as long as it believes that unification over the long term remains possible and that the costs of conflict outweigh the benefits. China argues that the credible threat of force is essential to maintain the conditions for political progress and to prevent Taiwan from making moves toward de jure independence. China has refused for decades to renounce the use of force to resolve the Taiwan issue, despite simultaneously professing its desire for peaceful unification under the principle of “one country, two systems.”

The circumstances under which the mainland has historically warned that it would use force have evolved over time in response to the island’s declarations of its political status, changes in PLA capabilities, and China’s view of Taiwan’s relations with other countries. These circumstances have included:

  • formal declaration of Taiwan independence;
  • undefined moves toward Taiwan independence;
  • internal unrest on Taiwan;
  • Taiwan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons;
  • indefinite delays in the resumption of cross-Strait dialogue on unification;
  • foreign intervention in Taiwan’s internal affairs; and
  • foreign forces stationed on Taiwan.

Article 8 of China’s March 2005 Anti-Secession Law states that China may use “non-peaceful means” if “secessionist forces … cause the fact of Taiwan’s secession from China,” if “major incidents entailing Taiwan’s secession” occur, or if “possibilities for peaceful reunification” are exhausted. The ambiguity of these “redlines” preserves China’s flexibility.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ustaiwandefense.com/2017-military-and-security-developments-involving-the-peoples-republic-of-china/

2016 – Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China

The U.S. Department of Defense has released its annual report to Congress on the military power of China.
2016 – Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (PDF)

One major section (beginning on page 86) is called Force Modernization for a Taiwan Contingency.

 

There have been no signs that China’s military posture opposite Taiwan has changed significantly. The PLA continues to develop and deploy military capabilities intended to coerce Taiwan or to attempt an invasion, if necessary. These improvements pose major challenges to Taiwan’s security, which has been based historically upon the PLA’s inability to project power across the 100 nm Taiwan Strait, the natural geographic advantages of island defense, Taiwan’s armed forces’ technological superiority, and the possibility of U.S. intervention.

China appears prepared to defer the use of force as long as it believes that unification over the long term remains possible and that the costs of conflict outweigh the benefits.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ustaiwandefense.com/2016-military-and-security-developments-involving-the-peoples-republic-of-china/

The Obama Administration Announces U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

 

The US-Taiwan Business Council today welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of State to announce its approval of possible Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certifications notifying Congress of the proposed Taiwan sales on December 16, 2015.

 

The published Congressional Notifications (transmittal numbers 15-27, 15-44, 15-45, 15-72, 15-74, 16-01, 16-05, and 16-06) were for two of the four FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates that that the U.S. authorized by law for transfer to Taiwan a year ago, and associated materials (at a refurbishment and upgrade cost of US$190 million); 36 AAV-7 Assault Amphibious Vehicles (US$375 million); 13 MK 15 Phalanx Block 1B ship defense Close-In Weapon Systems, upgrade kits, ammunition, and support (US$416 million); 208 Javelin guided missiles, technical assistance, logistics, and program support (US$57 million); 769 BGM-71F-series TOW 2B Aero Radio Frequency anti-armor missiles, support, and training (US$268 million); 250 Block I-92F MANPAD Stinger missiles, related equipment and support (US$217 million); Taiwan Advanced Tactical Data Link System (TATDLS) and Link 11 communication systems integration (US$75 million); Follow-on support for Taiwan’s MIDS/LVT-1 and JTIDS previously procured (US$ 120 million).[i]

 

Taiwan is poised to elect a new President on January 16, 2016. The timing of this announcement is therefore useful as a modest signal to China that the U.S. has equities in the peaceful transition of power on the island, and that it supports Taiwan’s democratic system. However, the Taiwan Relations Act states that “the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.” In light of this recent sale, the US-Taiwan Business Council poses a number of questions for the Obama Administration:

 

  1. Why did it take over four years to prepare this arms package? The last U.S. arms sale to Taiwan took place on September 21, 2011.
  2. Why isn’t Taiwan being offered any new capabilities to counter changes to the Chinese threat over this period?
  3. What impact are delays in consideration and execution of Taiwan arms requests having on the island’s ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability?

 

The contents of the arms package announced today – along with the unprecedented four-year delay since the last arms sale – raises serious questions as to whether it serves as a response commensurate to the threat posed by China’s military. The past four years has seen increased Chinese force modernization efforts, and according to the U.S. Department of Defense “the PLA has developed and deployed military capabilities to coerce Taiwan or to attempt an invasion, if necessary.[ii]

 

The Obama Administration’s focus on China military-to-military engagement and other initiatives in which China’s cooperation is viewed as crucial, such as on climate change efforts, is directly and negatively impacting U.S. willingness to maintain consistent and credible support for Taiwan’s self-defense. This in turn directly impacts the seriousness with which China views our intentions to assist Taiwan.

 

Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers noted that “There have been myriad initiatives in U.S.-Taiwan bilateral security relations since the last arms sale in 2011. However, while China has deployed new fighters, submarines, and missiles during the last four years, the U.S. has consistently refused to consider providing Taiwan access to similar platforms, or even aiding their indigenous development.

 

In addition, the process for considering, assessing, and processing Taiwan arms sales is broken. The contorted efforts to provide the minimum over an extended period has amounted to long delays and to the U.S. providing only second-hand equipment and additional munitions for systems already in Taiwan’s inventory. The U.S. is placing its China priorities ahead of our legacy and legal requirement to provide for Taiwan’s self-defense. We see no effort to meaningfully address China’s modernization efforts with new capabilities for Taiwan – not because they are unneeded, but because the political cost to China relations is perceived as being too high. Yet that perception was roundly debunked by the Council and Project 2049 in our 2012 report on Chinese reactions to arms sales.[iii]

 

Hammond-Chambers also said “The process that has seen the bundling of Taiwan arms sales into large packages has run its course. The arbitrary manner in which programs are considered, the absence of a broader strategy for providing Taiwan consistent material support, and the long delays in processing and notifying them to Congress is hampering Taiwan’s ability to mount a serious defense. By bundling programs into packages, the U.S. forces Taiwan to buy all necessary equipment at once rather than in an orderly year-on-year process. If requests go unaddressed for years, or programs are long delayed, how can Taiwan reasonably maintain domestic political support for them, or develop the budget for its ongoing force modernization?

 

The US-Taiwan Business Council supports the return to a normal and regular process for assessing all Taiwan arms sales requests and sales. Additionally, the Council believes that the bilateral security relationship needs to be clear about what new capabilities should accompany ongoing training and exchanges in aid of Taiwan’s self-defense – including addressing quantitative issues impacting its fighter fleet, its requirement for submarines to complicate Chinese invasion scenarios, as well as further improvements in Taiwan’s missile defense capabilities.

 

[i] As of 1:00 pm on December 16, 2015. For details, see the DSCA website at http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales
[ii] See: “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2015” http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2015_China_Military_Power_Report.pdf
[iii] See: “Chinese Reactions to Taiwan Arms Sales” http://www.us-taiwan.org/reports/2012_chinese_reactions_to_taiwan_arms_sales.pdf

Press Release: The Obama Administration Announces U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan (PDF)

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National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology (NCSIST) Releases Promotional Videos

In preparation for their participation in the 2015 Paris Air Show, Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology released promotional videos to feature alongside the hardware that they will be exhibiting at the show. The aim is to “promote Taiwan’s achievements in defense technology and other areas,” and “exploring opportunities to introduce locally produced key weapon modules into international supply chains.”

The main Paris Air Show video, along with others featuring several indigenous Taiwan weapons systems, are available on the official NCIST YouTube channel, and include showcases for:

 

The Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missile (HF III “Brave Wind”)

The Tien Kung III surface-to-air missile (TK III “Sky Bow”)

The Cardinal II unmanned aircraft system

The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology (NCSIST) is Taiwan’s main weapons research and development center. The organization, previously known only as CSIST, was spun off from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) in April of 2014.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ustaiwandefense.com/national-chung-shan-institute-of-science-technology-ncsist-releases-promotional-videos/

2015 – Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China

The U.S. Department of Defense has released its annual report to Congress on the military power of China. 2015 – Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (PDF)

One major section (beginning on page 56) is called Force Modernization for a Taiwan Contingency.

 

Security in the Taiwan Strait is largely a function of dynamic interactions between and among mainland China, Taiwan, and the United States. China’s strategy toward Taiwan has been influenced by what it sees as positive developments in Taiwan’s political situation and approach to engagement with China. However, China’s overall strategy continues to incorporate elements of persuasion and coercion to deter or repress the development of political attitudes in Taiwan favoring independence.

China and Taiwan have made progress in expanding cross-Strait trade/economic links and people-to-people contacts. Alongside positive public statements about the Taiwan Strait situation from top leaders in China following the re-election of President Ma Ying-jeou in 2012, there have been no signs that China’s military posture opposite Taiwan has changed significantly.

The PLA has developed and deployed military capabilities to coerce Taiwan or to attempt an invasion, if necessary. These improvements pose major challenges to Taiwan’s security, which has been based historically upon the PLA’s inability to project power across the 100 nm Taiwan Strait, natural geographic advantages of island defense, Taiwan’s armed forces’ technological superiority, and the possibility of U.S. intervention.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ustaiwandefense.com/2015-military-and-security-developments-involving-the-peoples-republic-of-china/

Chen Yeong-kang becomes Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of National Defense

Admiral Chen Yeong-kang became Taiwan’s new Deputy Minister of National Defense (Policy) on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Chen replaced Andrew Hsia, who stepped down to became Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council in January of 2015.

Chen’s former posts in the military include serving as Navy Commander, as head of the Republic of China Defense Mission in the United States, and as President of the National Defense University.

Chen, a long-time naval officer who has studied at the U.S. Naval Command College, is familiar with foreign affairs, foreign military weapons procurement, armed forces development and military education. While serving as Navy Commander, Chen was a driving force for Taiwan’s indigenous submarine program and was keen to push for the Navy’s modernization.

Source: Central News Agency

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ustaiwandefense.com/chen-yeong-kang-becomes-taiwans-deputy-minister-of-national-defense/

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Admiral Kao Kuang-chi became Taiwan’s new Minister of National Defense on Friday, January 30, 2015. Kao replaced Yen Ming, who had held the post since August of 2013.

Kao, a former Navy commander and chief of the General Staff, will use his expertise to help carry out an indigenous submarine program and downsize the country’s troops as the military continues its efforts to build a small but elite force.

Source: Central News Agency

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ustaiwandefense.com/kao-kuang-chi-becomes-taiwan-minister-of-national-defense/

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The procurement of F-16 C/D fighter jets from the United States is still an option to beef up Taiwan’s defense capabilities, the Ministry of National Defense said Monday, dismissing a report that the military has decided not to purchase the aircraft.

Source: Central News Agency

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ustaiwandefense.com/f-16cd-jet-fighters-still-a-consideration-defense-ministry/

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