Sunday, October 31, 2010

Taiwan Marines Push for More Vehicles

Defense News


Taiwan Marines Push for More Vehicles


TAIPEI – Taiwan’s Marine Corps is pushing for more money to replace its remaining LVTP-5A1 amphibious assault vehicles.

In 2006, the service replaced the first half of its LVTPs with 54 re­built AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles.

Four years later, the Marines are still waiting for the Navy to release funds for 65 more AAV-7s, said a local defense industry source.

A Taiwan defense official confirmed the budget has been delayed, but denied the Navy was doing it intentionally. The entire national defense budget is taking hits to pay for $13 billion worth of new arms and equipment ordered over the last three years, including P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, Patriot PAC-3 air defense missile systems, AH-64D Apache attack helicopters and UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters.

The Marines will have to wait if they want more amphibious vehicles, the official said.

However, a local defense industry source warned there are “only about 110 hulls left in the world and there are a lot of countries that are looking at them, so if Taiwan wants them, they need to move on them soon.” The consequence, he said, would force the Taiwanese to procure new vehicles, rather than less expensive refurbished ones.

The need for more amphibious vehicles was underscored by the devastating Typhoon Morakot, which killed 439 people in 2009 and was the deadliest such storm in the island’s recorded history. The Marines with AAV-7s were the only military units able to rescue people in the affected areas.

After the disaster, Taiwan Presi­dent Ma Ying-jeou called on the military to be better prepared for future disasters, particularly with Taiwan’s high level of earthquake activity.

The Marines expected the AAV-7s to be released after Morakot, but the Navy postponed it again due to budget issues, said a Taiwan defense official. Expectations are grim for any release in the near future, he said.

The AAV-7s were upgraded by United Defense Ground Systems under a 2003 contract dubbed RAM/RS (Reliability, Availability and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard). The $156 million upgrade included remanufactured hulls, appliqué armor kits and litter kits, and was performed at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Logistics Command depot in Albany, Ga.

China’s Military Preps for a New Leader

Defense News


China’s Military Preps for a New Leader


TAIPEI — The Oct. 18 appointment of Xi Jinping as vice chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) places him in line to replace Chinese President Hu Jintao as chairman of the commission, and eventually as president of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The decision to appoint Xi was made during the Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

Hu was given the same job before becoming head of the party in 2002 and then president in 2003. Hu is expected to step down as head of the party in 2012 and then as president a year later, say observers in Beijing and the United States.

Roughly speaking, the CMC is like a combination of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Council and Office of the Secretary of Defense. It has total control over the two-million-strong People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Xi already wears many hats, including the vice president of the PRC, member of the Politburo Standing Committee, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee and principal of the Central Party School. The vice chairmanship will allow him to become familiar with the PLA and to prepare to become the commission’s chairman.

“He will be the next leader of our party, our country and our army,” said Zhuang Jianzhong, vice director of Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Center for National Strategy Studies.

Some observers describe Xi as a reform-minded bureaucrat who has backed anti-corruption policies. There also are suggestions that Xi, who holds a doctorate, might be a modern leader who will improve relations with the United States.

But Zhuang said he is unlikely to attempt reforming the commission or the PLA for the time being.

Others caution that Xi will do nothing to anger the military as he pushes up the leadership ladder, and there is little or no evidence Xi will be conciliatory to the U.S. just because of his education.

“Chinese politics is far too opaque to draw any firm conclusions about what Xi Jinping’s elevation to the CMC means in policy terms, or what it says about China’s international outlook,” said Beijing-based Richard McGregor, author of the book, “The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers.”

But Xi’s confirmation as the leading contender to ascend to the government’s top job indicates that the party has “seemingly institutionalized the kind of peaceful transition of power that it first managed to do in 2002,” when Hu became party secretary.

McGregor said the peaceful transition of power is “enormously important for an authoritarian power, as so many other such governments have foundered on how to transfer power to the next generation, without debilitating and sometimes bloody fights.”

The appointment is a sign of stability within the CPC and CMC, not a harbinger of change, said a Chinese defense scholar based in Beijing.
“Xi would spend the first months and years of his first tenure to consolidate his standing in the party as well as the military,” he said.

Xi is not unfamiliar with the workings of the CMC. From 1979-82, he was a secretary for Geng Biao, vice premier and secretary­general of the CMC.

As he slowly takes power, Xi is expected to gradually promote those loyal to him in the military. His first task will be to secure the chairmanship of the CMC, then head of the party, then the presidency, the scholar said.

“Xi will continue Hu’s current policy of giving more support to building a more advanced military force,” he said. “I foresee more continuity and less of an abrupt break-up.”

Though Xi is widely expected to replace Hu in all positions of power, a critical test of a more institutionalized transition is whether Hu will stay as CMC chair as Xi takes over as CPC general secretary in 2012, said Nan Li, a China military specialist at the U.S. Naval War College’s Strategic Research Department.

Li noted that former party leader Jiang Zemin allowed Hu to succeed him as general secretary in 2002, but made him wait two more years to become CMC chair.

“There is a chance that Hu may not, which means Xi may become CMC chair in 2012,” Li said.

Li also said the next round of CMC personnel changes may have a service chief, from either the Air Force or Navy, promoted to hold one of the two uniformed CMC vice chair positions, “implying elevated importance of the non-army services in defending China’s newly emerging national interests.” Sources agree Xi will have to consolidate his power in the CMC and PLA before cracking down on PLA corruption and initiating reforms.

One area of complaints is that noncombat departments and personnel should be eliminated to optimize use of resources.

5-Power Defense Chiefs Issue Exercise Directive

Defense News


5-Power Defense Chiefs Issue Exercise Directive


TAIPEI — A new agreement on military exercises aims to foster interoperability and interaction among the armed forces of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Issued Oct. 14 in Singapore during the Defense Chiefs’ Conference of the Five Power Defense Arrangements, the directive also aims to improve the members’ capacity for conventional and non­conventional operations, according to an FPDA statement.

The countries founded the FPDA in 1971 to facilitate consultation during an attack on or threat against Malaysia or Singapore, both former British colonies. The group’s periodic conferences, hosted alternately by Malaysia and Singapore, foster regional military exercises.

The new directive provides guidance on large-scale FPDA field training and command post exercises, Singapore’s chief of Defense Force (CDF), Lt. Gen. Neo Kian Hong, said in his remarks to open the conference. These include the Exercise Bersama Padu, currently underway, as well as the Exercise Bersama Lima and Exercise Suman Protecter, which will be conducted in Singapore in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The conference has a “marginal, but not negligible significance,” said Singapore-based Timothy Huxley, a Southeast Asia defense specialist for the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

Huxley said it provides a channel through which the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand can stay involved in southeast Asian security issues and offers a means for communication and exchange on defense matters between Malaysia and Singapore.

He said that the conference has helped to resolve some disruptions in cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia because of political tensions.

Huxley said the conference is useful in terms of providing an “opportunity for the exchange of views on the regional security landscape, and in more practical terms the schedule of FPDA exercises and exchanges, and perhaps operational aspects of the Integrated Area Defence System, the FPDA’s full-time air and maritime surveillance center in northern Malaysia.”

Top-tier attendees at this year’s conference included Australia’s CDF, Air Chief Marshal Allan Grant Houston; Malaysia’s CDF, Gen. Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Azizan bin Ariffin; New Zealand’s CDF, Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Mateparae; and the United Kingdom’s chief of the Defense Staff (Designate), Gen. David Richards.

After the conference, the defense chiefs paid a call on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Teo Chee Hean at the Ministry of Defense and attended the Oct. 15 opening ceremony for the Exercise Bersama Padu at Butterworth Air­base, Penang, Malaysia.

The three-week exercise involves 13 ships and 63 aircraft comprising military units from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. It is being held at locations across the Malaysian Peninsula as well as the South China Sea.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

U.S., China Get Back to Talking

Defense News


U.S., China Get Back to Talking


TAIPEI — U.S. and Chinese military officials are talking again, nine months after Beijing halted military-to-military exchanges in retaliation for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, but analysts wonder whether the thaw represents much of a real warming of relations.

One set of talks, on maritime security issues, took place in Hawaii on Oct. 14-15.

Another sign of improved relations was a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie in Hanoi on Oct. 11 during a regional defense minister’s conference sponsored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During the meeting, Gates accepted an invitation to visit Beijing, which had cancelled Gates’ planned visit this past summer — 
another indication that China is ready to get back to the table.

A source with close ties to the Pentagon said the invitation and the resumption on military talks were a “quid pro quo” for allowing Chinese President Hu Jintao to visit the United States this coming January.

“Gates’ visit to China was secured prior to the Liang meeting, as I understand it. [His] visit will take place after Hu’s visit,” said the source.

Others see a connection between the White House’s Oct. 11 decision to allow the export of C-130s to China and Beijing’s cooperation on resuming military dialogue.

Yet military talks are not returning to normal, said Zhu Feng, a security analyst at Peking University’s Center for International and Strategic Studies, who views the recent moves as a new gambit in bilateral security dialogue.

Zhu says that both sides need to change the way they view dialogue.

The U.S. needs to stop looking at China in the same way it looked at the old Soviet Union.

“Cold War thinking needs to end,” he said. And China needs to “attach more importance to military-to-military exchanges” and look at dialogue as an opportunity to collaborate on developing a “cooperative mechanism” on common security concerns.

Some see the C-130 export release and Gates’ invitation as evidence of successful Chinese bargaining.

“It is also consistent with the idea of ‘good cop, bad cop.’ What will the U.S. offer the Chinese civilian leadership, in light of Chinese military ‘recalcitrance’?” said Dean Cheng, a China military specialist at the Heritage Foundation.

Cheng said the Gates-Liang interaction was “not due to a genuine warming of relations between the two militaries, but atmospherics dictated from on high.” China wants the impending Hu-Obama summit to be successful and “neither wants bad military-to­military contacts to sour that meeting.”

The “atmospherics” could mean that there is a lack of “genuine deepening of military relations after the summit,” Cheng said. “The Chinese heart doesn’t seem to be in it.” There is also the question of what Gates’ visit will accomplish in light of the fact the secretary is a “lame duck,” he said. “How do the Chinese look upon a visit from a secretary who’s already announced he’s leaving soon?”

Another issue that continues to plague continued dialogue and cooperation is Taiwan. China continues to aim around 1,300 short­range ballistic missiles (SRBM) at the island and the U.S. is committed to Taiwan’s defense should China attack.

China has used military sales to Taiwan as a political football. Over the past three years the Pentagon has sold over $13 billion worth arms and equipment to Taiwan. In January, the U.S. released $6.4 billion worth of arms. Now Taipei is pushing for the release of new F-16 fighters and China has called any such release a “red line.”

However, there are also hopes China will reduce the number of SRBMs aimed at Taiwan in the near future. Both sides signed an historic economic agreement earlier this year and political dialogue across the Strait is increasing.

Obama’s C-130 / China Move Brings Confusion In Many Quarters 

Defense News


Obama’s C-130 / China Move Brings Confusion In Many Quarters 


TAIPEI — A congressional letter sent by U.S. President Barack Obama asking for the release of exports of C-130 aircraft to China during oil­spill operations has been hailed by Chinese media, criticized by some U.S. observers and generated confusion over its intent.

Chinese state media outlets are reporting the U.S. is lifting the arms embargo, in place since the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen, as a quid pro quo for restarting military exchanges and inviting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to China in 2011.

But Michael Hammer, U.S. National Security Council spokesman, said the export of munitions to China will continue to be restricted by law under Section 902 of the 1990-91 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, better known as the “Tiananmen Square sanctions.”

Obama’s Oct. 8 letter states that it is in the national interest of the U.S. “to terminate the suspensions under … the Act with respect to the issuance of temporary munitions export licenses for exports” to China, insofar as such restrictions pertain to the C-130 being “used in oil spill response operations at sea.”

Though the White House can ask the U.S. Congress to waive sanc­tions for humanitarian and disaster response, there is no evidence China has ever requested foreign assistance on an oil spill, nor does the letter or anyone in the White House identify the alleged foreign companies who requested the waiver.

“The C-130 decision has been misreported and should not be exaggerated,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Critics in Washington are calling any move to tinker with sanctions potentially dangerous, saying it might allow for a greater relaxation and the eventual reversal of the Tiananmen Square sanctions.

“I think this was an ill-considered decision that was probably intended as an inducement to get Beijing to agree to speak to [U.S. Defense] Secretary [Robert] Gates and allow Gates to make a visit to China before his term as secretary ends,” said Larry Wortzel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The news came a few days before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) defense ministers meeting in Hanoi on Oct. 12, where Gates met with his Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister Liang Guan­glie. Gates was also invited to visit Beijing in 2011 during the meeting.

Dean Cheng, a China specialist at the Heritage Foundation, said Obama’s announcement was an attempt to “‘show some ankle, in order to tempt the Chinese into greater interaction.” The Chinese unilaterally canceled military exchanges after the U.S. released a $6.4 billion arms deal to Taiwan in January. Beijing later canceled a planned visit by Gates without explanation.

Despite media reports, the U.S. is not selling C-130s to China, Hammer said.

The decision is a “contingency waiver that would allow for the landing and refueling of a C-130 in China in order to respond to an oil spill as necessary — either in China or, more likely, transiting China to another country in Asia.”

Hammer said oil spill response companies maintain reaction capabilities throughout the world.

“C-130s are used because of their maneuverability and transport capacity. Contingency plans in the region may include temporarily landing in China.” The waiver would “promote international cooperation on environmental disaster mitigation efforts,” he said.

China’s Bohai Sea has suffered from numerous oil spills, but China has never sought foreign assistance with an oil spill.

“In the wake of the [July] Dalian oil spill, perhaps the worst in Asia in recent decades, one is hard-pressed to find reports that China had invited foreign experts or teams to help with the clean-up,” Cheng said.

The C-130 release is also a mystery on technical grounds. China has military cargo aircraft capable of responding to oil spills at sea, including the Shaanxi Y-8 cargo aircraft and the new Y-9 multipurpose transport aircraft. The Y-9 is eerily similar to the C-130 in design and capability.

Wortzel said the sale of just one C-130 would be “enough to reverse engineer.” The result would be an improved Y-9 that would eventually compete against the C-130 in the international cargo aircraft market.

Obama’s decision will no doubt increase calls within Europe to overturn similar export restrictions in place since 1989. European defense companies have been pushing hard for the lifting of sanctions.

Japanese Pols Decline To Overturn Arms Export Ban

Defense News


Japanese Pols Decline To Overturn Arms Export Ban


TAIPEI — Despite efforts by industrialists, politicians and military officials to overturn the ban on exporting arms, political opponents in Tokyo appear to have stopped such a change for now.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan confirmed Oct. 12 there were no plans to end the decades-long ban on arms exports. The government is preparing the first major update of its defense policy since 2004, and there were hopes a lifting of the ban would go forward.

Recommendations for a wide range of defense policy reform were issued in an August report, “Japan’s Vision for Future Security and Defense Capabilities in the New Era,” submitted by a government advisory panel to the prime minister’s office.

The report says, “Defense equipment cooperation or defense assistance could be effective tools for improving the security environment and international relations, defense cooperation and assistance should be carried out on the basis of a new set of principles, superseding the de facto export prohibition policy under the ‘Three Principles on Arms Export.’”

The report also says change is needed to save Japanese defense enterprises from being left behind in international technology innovation.

“The Japanese Government should allow these enterprises to participate in international joint development and/or production projects. With a careful design to contribute to international peace and improvement of Japan’s security environment, it should revise current arms export prohibition policy,” the report says.

One Japanese government official said discussions have yet to start on how to implement the report’s recommendation.

“If it will come to fruition remains to be seen. As the export control has been a policy for long time, any change of the current policy would invite a heated debate,” he said.

Kan said Japan would continue honoring the 1967 “three principles” banning arms exports and the co-development of arms with third countries, such as the U.S. The 1967 ban has hobbled the indigenous defense industry and resulted in higher costs for locally produced arms. Industry had its hopes raised Oct. 11, when Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that the ban should be overturned. The two were in Hanoi for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers Meeting.

“Japan has denied itself the benefits of international weapons development collaboration, essentially since the time it had any defense industry worth collaborating with,” said a U.S. defense industry analyst in Tokyo.

“Originally, the notion was to enhance Japan’s national security by not embroiling it in foreign conflicts, but the resulting isolation of the Japanese defense industry, increasingly expensive and not competitive, only led to decreased national security. The current situation is unsustainable. It is simply too expensive, too inefficient,” he said.

Despite the setback, there is increasingly more “consensus for this move among industry and officials in foreign affairs, trade and defense than I have seen in many decades,” said Michael Green, a Japan specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Green said overturning the export ban “makes sense, since the defense industry is increasingly globalized and Japan’s own ability to move into future opportunities for joint development of subsystems for missile defense or fighters will be critical to keep industry afloat.” Despite the pressure to implement a policy change, exporting weapons in the near term is unlikely. The first step would be “contributing subsystems to programs used in the U.S. or Europe,” Green said.

No progress is foreseen in the current political environment in the Diet, or Japanese legislature. The Democratic Party of Japan still has a minority position in the upper house of the Diet and is “unlikely to take this on directly before they know who might be their coalition partners,” Green said.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gates To Meet Chinese Defense Chief at ASEAN Meeting

Defense News


Gates To Meet Chinese Defense Chief at ASEAN Meeting


TAIPEI – The defense chiefs of China and the United States will meet when Vietnam hosts the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers Meeting Plus Eight, or ADMM+8, in Hanoi on Oct. 12.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie are to hold a “short but significant” meeting, said Guan Youfei, deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Office of China’s Ministry of Defense.

The chiefs have not met face-to­-face since China canceled bilateral military exchanges in January after the U.S. released a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan.

The ADMM+8 will include 10 ASEAN members and eight dialogue partners, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

The meeting follows July’s contentious 17th ASEAN Regional Forum, where U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasize a multilateral approach to regional problems. That’s the tack favored by most ASEAN members, who have felt alienated and isolated by China’s preference for bilateral efforts. Clinton herself said that an unnamed country in the South China Sea — a clear reference to China — 

was using “coercion.” Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi called Clinton’s stance an “attack.”

Many observers predict that China will come to ADMM+8 with new tactics that downplay South China Sea issues, including its controversial March announcement that the sea is now a “core interest” on par with Taiwan and Tibet.

“The Chinese side has already stated that the ADMM Plus is not an appropriate venue in which to discuss the South China Sea dispute, and this is in line with Beijing’s opposition to the ‘internationalization’ of the problem,” said Ian Storey, an ASEAN specialist at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Storey said China’s recent assertive behavior in the sea will make the issue difficult to ignore, but he said ASEAN states will be “careful not to antagonize” Beijing. Instead, they will hope instead that China will “recalibrate its position and follow through on its commitments to implement the [2002] ASEAN-China Declaration of the Conduct of Parties” in the South China Sea, which China has made no progress on implementing, he said.

For their part, U.S. officials will tread lightly, offering a long-term, multilateral view without dominating the discussions, said Carlyle Thayer, an ASEAN specialist at the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Academy.

“There is an overlap in security cooperation activities, and deft leadership by the U.S. could result in streamlining what is presently a chaotic process,” Thayer said.

U.S. officials have said they will not play a central role in South China Sea issues.

“The U.S. can be expected to push the line it has been consistently advocating: resumption of military-to-military talks with China, and that territorial disputes over maritime areas should be settled peacefully,” he said. 

Hanoi Annoyed 

If anyone has a serious problem with China’s territorial claims, it is Vietnam. The countries have been bumping into each other in the South China Sea since the 1970s, but in the past year or so, China has been doing most of the bumping.

The ADMM+8 will open next week to calls on China to release nine Vietnamese fishermen arrested by China near the disputed Paracel Islands. China took the Paracel Islands by military force in 1974 from then-South Vietnam.

The conflict has not been forgotten in Vietnam, nor has a 1988 military conflict in the South China Sea over the Johnson South Reef in the Spratly Islands: China reportedly sank two Vietnamese naval vessels and killed more than 60 troops.

A video documentary widely aired in Vietnam, dubbed the “Spratly Islands Massacre,” available on YouTube, purportedly shows a Chinese frigate gunning down around 30 Vietnamese soldiers on the reef.

Angst in Hanoi over Chinese aggression in the South China Sea has encouraged many in the U.S. government to consider Vietnam a potential ally in waiting.

Officials from the Pentagon and U.S. defense companies have been pouring into Vietnam over the past year, U.S. sources say, looking for opportunities as China continues to aggravate Vietnam.

The result is a new push to lift restrictions on U.S. arms sales to Vietnam, blocked by International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

U.S. enthusiasm could be dampened by pressure on Congress from Vietnamese-American groups still bitter over the Vietnam War, and by human rights organizations who want to place conditions on better relations with Vietnam.

Despite the hurdles, U.S. government officials are clearly upbeat on improved relations.

“This year marks the 15th anniversary of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations, and we should take pride in how far we’ve come,” a U.S. government official said. “Today, U.S.-Vietnam defense relations are positive and robust, based in mutual trust, understanding, and respect for independence and sovereignty. Both countries share a commitment to a stable and peaceful Southeast Asia region and a common approach to transnational issues.”

The U.S. official said the countries might seek an “increasingly robust defense relationship, particularly in the areas of dialogues and information exchanges, peacekeeping, ... and maritime security.”

But the situation is more complex than China’s bullying driving Vietnam under the U.S. security umbrella, said Frederick Brown, a foreign policy fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

“China is more important to Vietnam than the U.S. in the short term,” Brown said. “They don’t want to appear they are participating with the U.S. in a containment strategy against China in a hostile fashion.”

Vietnam is attempting to recast itself as a regional power, he said, taking on a “coloration of a Southeast Asian mini-power through ASEAN and [the ASEAN Regional Forum] through a very extensive number of multilateral relationships on the economic, political and military level in Southeast Asia.” Brown said this is Vietnam’s best defense: “They have to be part of something bigger.” 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

China Showcases Arms at Africa Defense Expo


Defense News

China Showcases Arms at Africa Defense Expo


TAIPEI — China is elbowing out once-dominant Western defense companies at the upcoming 2010 Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD 2010) tri-service exhibition near Cape Town, South Africa.

Chinese defense companies have taken a sizeable portion of exhibition space at Ysterplaat Air Force Base with more than 1,200 square meters. More than a dozen major defense companies are exhibiting at the Sept. 21-25 show, including China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. (CATIC) and China North Industries Corp. (NORINCO).

China’s aggressive posture at the defense show reflects its broader strategies in Africa, where it has become a much more active supplier of arms.

China is providing opportunities for African nations to procure arms and equipment with soft loans, and in some cases arms, in exchange for access to resources, such as oil and natural gas. There also is interest in strategic minerals, a market China has been securing around the world.

According to the 2009 and 2010 annual reports by the U.S. Department of Defense on Chinese military modernization, China received 17 percent of its total foreign oil supplies from Angola and 6 percent from Sudan. From 2005 to 2009, Africa made up 11 percent of overseas Chinese arms sales.

There have been complaints from governments and human rights organizations about Chinese arms sales to and support for the governments of Sudan and Zimbabwe, which have been accused of human rights violations. China appears reluctant to hear complaints and is oblivious to United Nations sanctions.

“If China really wished to effectively refute such allegations, it could bring a greater transparency to its arms sales and/or policies on soft loans,” said Sarah Raines, a researcher at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies and the author of the book, “China’s African Challenges.”

China has reportedly provided $75 billion to companies that produce weapons in Africa, said Mike Hough, an expert at the Institute for Strategic and Political Affairs, University of Pretoria. Not only has China been exporting weapons to Africa, but South Africa, in particular, has exported arms and equipment to China, he said.

China also has worked hard to improve military relations with Africa, Hough said. In 2009, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Sudan and Tanzania sent senior defense delegations to China on official visits.

China also has contributed significant numbers of troops to peacekeeping and humanitarian missions under the United Nations while providing arms to African nations in violation of U.N. resolutions.

In November 2007, Beijing deployed more than 300 engineers to support the African Union-U.N. Mission in Darfur, Sudan. China sells arms to Sudan despite U.N. Security Council resolutions 1556 in 2004 and 1591 in 2005, both of which called for preventing the transfer of arms to Darfur.

China argues that arms sales “constitute part of normal commercial relations, and that the arms supplied by Chinese companies were not meant for use in Darfur,” the 2009 DoD report said. From 2004 to 2006, China provided an average of 90 percent of small arms sales to Sudan.

In March 2008, South African dockworkers refused to unload a Chinese cargo ship carrying 70 tons of small arms and ammunition for eventual delivery to Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF Party, led by President Robert Mugabe. The ZANU-PF was accused of using violence against pro-democracy advocates during elections. The ship was rerouted to Angola, where it off-loaded non-military cargo and returned to China with the remaining arms.

Beijing initially defended the shipment, but relented after international pressure.

“The most obvious conclusion is that there is good money to be made in the arms business, and China has become one of the world’s most important suppliers of arms — globally, well behind the U.S. and Russia — to the developing world,” said David Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia.

From 2001 to 2008, China transferred to sub-Saharan Africa 390 artillery pieces, 440 armored personnel carriers and armored cars, 46 minor surface combatants, 20 supersonic combat aircraft and 70 military aircraft (mostly transport), said Shinn, now an African specialist with the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

It helps that Chinese arms tend to be relatively inexpensive and easy to operate, such as the J-7 and K-8 aircraft, Raines said. However, China’s unbridled enthusiasm for selling arms to nations like Sudan and Zimbabwe has damaged its reputation in the international community.

In March 2008, the International Criminal Court issued its first arrest warrant for a sitting president. The warrant charges Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Chinese companies that will have a presence at AAD 2010 include: 

■ China Aviation Industrial Base (CAIB), also known as Xi’an Yanliang National Aviation Hi-Tech Industry Base. 

■ China Electronics Import & Export Corp.


■ China Electronics Technology Group Corp.


■ China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. (CATIC) 

■ China North Industries Corp. (NORINCO) 

■ China Overseas Space Development and Investment Co. (COSDIC), under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. and the China Volant Industry Co. 

■ China Poly Group Corp. 

■ China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. (CPMIEC) 

■ China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Co. (CSOC) 

■ China Shipbuilding Trading Co. (CSSC) 

■ China Xinxing Import and Export Corp. (CXXC) 

■ Million China Holdings, Ltd. 

■ Ningbo Andarm Electrical Apparatus Works

Defense Spending Hits Wall in Taiwan


Defense News

Defense Spending Hits Wall in Taiwan


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s military is spending money, but little of it is for new procurement programs, sources here said.

The problem? Taiwan is facing more than $13 billion in bills for arms released by the U.S. government since 2007.

The overall defense budget has dropped since 2008 — from $10.5 billion to a proposed $9.2 billion for 2011, submitted to the legislature Aug. 30. The new budget represents 16.6 percent of the national budget and 2.7 percent of the gross domestic product.

The government is also, due to increasing economic hardship, borrowing money to finance the 2011 national budget — something that is relatively unheard of in Taiwan, sources said.

Equipment in the pipeline includes 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, 30 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, 60 UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, 330 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 air defense missiles, two Osprey-class mine hunters, upgrades for four E-2 Hawkeye aircraft, 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 218 AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and 235 Maverick air-to­ground missiles.

To make matters worse, Taiwan’s defense budget is wrestling to pay costs associated with reform policies — including a major streamlining and troop reduction — now being implemented.

“The most challenging and difficult time will be in the next three years for the military,” a former Taiwan defense official said. 

Drawdown, Reorganization 

The military faces a drawdown from 270,000 to 215,000 troops and a transition to an all-volunteer force by the end of 2014. It will also reorganize key commands and introduce more civilians into the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

Despite the financial struggle, the MND has big procurement plans for the next 10 years that will test not only Taiwan’s budget, but the political will of Washington in its attempts not to upset Beijing.

The list includes 66 F-16C/D fighter aircraft, six C-27J cargo aircraft, upgrades for 145 aging F-16A/B fighters, upgrades to two Dutch-built diesel submarines and six French-built La Fayette frigates, two more U.S.-built Newport-class tank landing ships and eight new diesel submarines — a longstanding request.

Taiwan’s Air Force has also been considering buying T-50 Golden Eagle attack jet trainers from Korea Aerospace Industries, Seoul, to replace aging AT-3 Tzu Chiang attack trainers and F-5 fighters used for training.

Despite the new arms and equipment flowing into the armed services, there are increasing signs the military is suffering from low morale.

Taiwan military officials warn that morale is in decline due to the government’s closer ties with China, corruption investigations, military downsizing, reduced budgets and growing concern the U.S. will cut arms sales to Taiwan to placate China.

China and Taiwan signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement on June 29. Many see the historic agreement as a sign of Beijing’s greater influence over Taipei and possibly the first step toward unification.