The U.S. needs to improve defense cooperation with Taiwan

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Taiwan update

One of Han Guang’s highlights, Taiwan’s annual military exercises this week, is the take-off and landing of fighter jets on the highway. The purpose of this performance is to demonstrate the ability of the Air Force to continue operations even if the air base is destroyed by missiles in the event of an attack by China.

For most military experts in the United States—the sole unofficial guarantor of Taiwan’s security—this show shows that Taipei has not done enough to strengthen its defenses against stronger opponents, nor has it done the right thing.

“Faced with China’s armed attack on Taiwan, any American president will find it difficult to stand by,” Bernard Cole, an emeritus professor at the National War College in Washington, wrote in a statement. Comment last week. “However, only if Taipei makes the best preparations for defending its territory, will it almost certainly decide to intervene on behalf of Taiwan — and this is not yet obvious.”

Cole summarized more than a decade of analysis by U.S. government officials and think tanks, arguing that Taiwan’s failure to reposition its military as an asymmetric strategy means a way of seeking to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses instead of trying to match its strengths.

In 2008, Professor William Murray of the U.S. Naval War College first Regulation Taiwan’s “porcupine” strategy, under this strategy, should enable itself to survive the initial stage of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s offensive, until the United States joins the battle.

Since then, Washington has repeatedly pleaded with Taipei to listen to this advice: acquire a large number of mobile and relatively cheap weapons, such as portable surface-to-air missiles, strengthen its critical infrastructure and reserve resources, and train a territorial defense force that can start war. Fought guerrilla warfare against the occupying army’s People’s Liberation Army. According to these suggestions, the last thing Taipei should pay attention to is its air force, because Beijing will destroy it before its fighters take off at the beginning of the conflict.

As Beijing steps up Military threatUS defense experts are increasingly annoyed by the Taiwan military’s unwillingness to act decisively in accordance with their instructions. After his author and former Chief of Staff, Admiral Li Ximing, retired in 2019, the new defense concept that emphasized the shift to asymmetry adopted in 2018 became the victim of factional struggles and divisions within the military. Taipei has already begun to acquire some weapons suitable for asymmetric strategies. It is spending a lot of money to buy new F-16 fighter jets from the United States and build a local submarine.

But some insiders believe that the disconnect between Washington’s prescription and Taipei’s actions cannot all be attributed to Taiwan’s complacency.

U.S. Air Force strategist Eric Chan said: “We have been having the same boring conversations for more than a decade. It doesn’t matter.” He believes that if we only focus on preparing for a potential future Chinese invasion , Will deprive Taiwan of its ability to resist Beijing’s ongoing violations.

“The most immediate challenge we face is China’s gray area tactics, including information warfare aimed at combating public morale, and frequent aerial incursions to try to undermine our control of our own airspace,” a person close to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense The person said. “If we only train how to escape and hide, it will shake morale. If we abandon the development of our air force, the PLA will win even before the war begins.”

In addition, Taipei is skeptical of the American idea that making it more difficult for the People’s Liberation Army to conquer Taiwan can deter Beijing. A person close to the Ministry of National Defense said: “Holding items in danger on the mainland has a stronger deterrent effect than building a shield that can last longer.”

Analysts believe that in order to truly address Taiwan’s defense deficiencies, Washington and Taipei need to update their security exchanges.

“The main difficulty is that we are still using the collaboration model designed in the 1990s,” Chen said. “We only have a few fixed sites, and there is a big loophole in the middle. In the past, the discussion focused on what Taiwan should purchase, but many other things, such as training, were not paid attention to.” He said that now is the time to change this situation. NS.

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