Taiwan’s Outgoing Administration Criticizes China in Defense Report
BY WENDELL MINNICK
TAIPEI — Mainland China is developing netcentric warfare and understating its defense budget, Taiwan’s outgoing government of Chen Shui Bien says.
The last National Defense Report from the Ministry of National Defense (MND) criticizes China’s claim that its 2007 defense budget was $44 billion, up by 17.8 percent from the previous year. The report argues that China omitted defense technology research, profits from arms exports, foreign procurement expenses, defense industrial revenues and operational funding for 660,000 military police.
“Estimates of its actual defense budget spending should be doubled or tripled, which is between $90 and $120 billion,” the report said.
Under Chen, the first non-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) president of Taiwan, the biennial report grew more substantive, adding actual budget numbers.
However, Chen’s DPP lost the presidential bid in March to KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou, who is expected to continue military reforms and requests that Washington allow Taiwan to buy F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighter jets. Sources in Taipei and Washington said the fighters will be released after the Beijing Olympics despite continuing opposition by State Department officials in Washington and Beijing.
Ma named Su Chi, an academic with a long history in government affairs, as the head of the National Security Council, and former deputy minister of defense Chen Chao-min, retired Air Force three-star general, as the new minister of national defense. Chen, who served as the deputy minister under the Chen administration from 2002 to 2004, will take office after Ma’s inauguration on May 20.
The report notes China’s development of netcentric warfare, such as computer viruses, hacker infiltration and spyware.
“Methods include Trojan programs, worms, Internet phishing, fake viruses, spyware, etc., and it also conducts research on soft and hard kill tactics (or methods) such as sabotaging enemy command centers, operation platforms, radar, etc., and concurrently, it already possessed capabilities to hinder enemy command, control and surveillance systems,” the report says.
It also says China is working on ways to militarily encircle Taiwan and to get international recognition of its claim to the Taiwan Strait as an “internal sea.” “[China] is intent on establishing combat capabilities beyond the outer islets, which will force our defensive operation positions into a disadvantageous ‘in-line’ operation model, and if it completes its deployments, it will form a battle format of ‘internalized seas’ against Taiwan, and create combat advantages of direct encompassment for the PRC,” the report says.
The report also says of China:
■ The Army is training its troops in “complex electro-magnetic environments.”
■ The Navy is building a blue-water capacity and is researching aircraft carriers with plans to build.
■ The Air Force is building an information based system, developing new weapons and improving its air defenses. It has over 700 fighter aircraft of various models. “Additionally, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] Air Force’s elite fighter aircraft and the Sukhoi series fighter aircraft bought from Russia are mostly deployed in bases in the eastern half of China, and, in wartime, they can quickly carry out airstrikes against Taiwan.”
■ It has more than 30 targeting, navigation, communication, surveillance and research satellites.
■ Its Second Artillery Corps has more than 1,300 short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles within striking distance of Taiwan.
■ It has expanded the radius of aircraft and vessel activities that challenge Taiwan’s airspace and territorial waters. The report said that China has flown 1,300 to more than 1,700 aircraft annually since 2005 near the demarcation line in the Taiwan Strait, up from 400 in 1995.
■ Chinese intelligence and scientific research ships increasingly have been seen in Taiwan’s territorial waters, making an average of more than 20 trips in each of the past three years. The report suggests Chinese air and maritime incursions are intended to gather intelligence and test Taiwan’s response time.