Defence of Taiwan

OPSSG

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1. We should note that Taiwan’s fighter fleet is larger than all of ASEAN’s air forces combined, which is a credible force to deter against war against China till at least 2025 to 2030.

2. The Taiwan Air Force has about 70,000 personnel and over 400 combat aircraft. The current inventory includes approximately 180 older F-5E/F fighters and over 100 more modern Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDFs). Taiwan also operates 55 Mirage 2000-5 fighters out of 60 originally delivered in 1997 and 1998. Taiwan also has purchased 150 F-16 fighters from the United States: 120 single-seat "A" models and 30 two- seat "B" models. On-island deliveries, which began in April 1997, were completed by the end of 1999 [by which time four aircraft had been lost to accidents].

3. As part of their modernisation efforts, Taiwan has acquired long-range oblique photography (LOROP) reconnaissance pods for its F-16s. Taiwanese Air Force has shown photos of 2 intruding PLAAF's Y-8 ASW taken by LOROP pods from its F-16s.
@OPSSG, do you think that's a step or two in the right direction?
4. From my vantage point, any total defence message, is a unity cry to action in multiple spheres, including military, civil, social, economic, psychological and cyber. Measured by this yardstick, the Taiwanese efforts are just a little lacking — when compared to Finland’s Comprehensive and Military Defence doctrines.
5. But we can always move the yardstick for Taiwan and compare them to the Philippines — only then can we say, ok.

6. In other news, Taiwan held their National Day ceremony on 10 Oct 2020, with celebrations, a parade and a flyover. IMO, a National Day ceremony is good message for total defence.

7. Defense Minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said in Sep 2020 that the Taiwanese Air Force has so far this year dispatched 20% more aircraft on patrol missions compared with the same period in 2019.

8. With some reform (as cited by you), Taiwan’s current military modernisation efforts will be seen as not very ineffective but moving in the right direction.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
If China invades Taiwan, will this be a game changer wrt to distancing SK from the US or will it be a wake-up moment to get on the same page asap? I suspect the former if the US lets China take Taiwan and I agree other nations in the region will probably do the same, even Japan.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
If China invades Taiwan, will this be a game changer wrt to distancing SK from the US or will it be a wake-up moment to get on the same page asap? I suspect the former if the US lets China take Taiwan and I agree other nations in the region will probably do the same, even Japan.
I agree that if the US lets China take Taiwan then there will be no point in having defence treaties with the US, because it will be fairly obvious that the US will not tangle with anyone bigger than Iraq or Syria. This is one reason I think the US doesn't have a choice in whether or not it helps Taiwan, unless it wants to give up being the number 1 global power and publicly hand that position over to China. Trying and failing would be acceptable, because a Chinese victory could be written off as Taiwan being under-prepared. The US could also push for sanctions against China. But hand-wringing whilst an invasion happens won't cut it.

As for the ROK, it will depend on whether they want to retain their current independence or are happy to become a Chinese client-state. It's impossible to know what Korean politics will be like in a couple of decades. Relations with Japan could get so bad that an openly pro-China party might win elections.
 

OPSSG

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1. Following the end of the Cold War — and with the change of the US global security strategy — Taiwan was no longer the metaphorical “Unsinkable aircraft carrier,” a term coined by General McArthur in 1950. Consequently, the US established formal diplomatic relations with the People Republic of China and replaced the previous security treaty with the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979. The 1979 Act provided sufficient ambiguity for the US government to decide when and how they would defend Taiwan’s security. Taiwan, therefore, became a strategic “option,” instead of a necessary “must” in the American grand strategy in the post-Cold War Asia-Pacific region.

2. @John Fedup and @Musashi_kenshin, both of you have dismissed South Korea’s imperatives for national Security and launched into a hypothetical Taiwan scenario that is not remotely realistic — US allies like Korea, Thailand and the Philippines have no interest in defending Taiwan, as it is a Taiwanese responsibility.

(i) President George W. Bush’s statement in April 2001 that Washington would do “whatever it took” to defend Taiwan was quickly extinguished by the foreign policy establishment and never repeated. Instead, both Taipei and Beijing are left with Washington’s “strategic ambiguity” as most succinctly articulated in the Clinton administration: We might or might not come to Taiwan’s defence, “depending on the circumstances.” IMHO, it is stupid for any American President to assume such responsibility — which is why the official State Department position remains as that of ‘strategic ambiguity’.​

(ii) American opponents of strategic clarity argue that Taiwan matters more to China than it does to the United States. The Americans should not risk World War III over it. Thus, the task of American leaders is to convince Chinese civilian and military hardliners that the costs and risks of conflict with the U.S. would be catastrophic for China, destroying all they have spent 70 years building up.​

3. With this as a background, we can better understand the April 2018, Panmunjeom Declaration. Back in 2018, the two Koreas agreed to work together to reduce sharp military tensions, avoid war, and try to build an enduring peace regime.

4. The ongoing North Korea-US stalemate has literally hijacked South Korean geopolitical concerns expressed in the Panmunjeom Declaration. Currently, South Korea does not have a choice but to join the possible unnecessary war once initiated either by Pyongyang or Washington D. C. This hypothetical war will be a nuclear one and will most certainly cost millions of Korean lives. South Korea has already established economic interdependence with China. These economic entanglements have ultimately made the US-South Korea security relations even more complicated.

5. During the Trump administration, a cloud has been hovering over an alliance “blood forged” during the Korean War and formalized after hostilities ceased in 1953. Trump’s policy position has been that US allies have enjoyed a free ride at America’s expense. In 2019, the US tried to raise the annual cost-sharing burden to be paid by Seoul for its hosting of GIs from just under Special Measures Agreement for the upkeep of 28,500 American troops stationed on the peninsula — from US$870 million in 2019 to about US$5 billion in 2020. Further, both of you show no awareness that any war on the Korean peninsula can result in a nuclear exchange that kills millions of South Koreans. In Oct 2020, South Korea’s imperatives for national Security still involves avoiding a nuclear war with the North and keeping China, as North Korea’s largest aid provider, appeased.

6. Choosing not to side with Taiwan, given Trump’s transactional view of all alliances is a no brainer for the South Koreans.

7. Without effort in basic research, you will get more rubbish-in, rubbish-out posts. May I suggest that you rethink your approach when writing about Korea.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
@John Fedup and @Musashi_kenshin, both of you have dismissed South Korea’s imperatives for national Security and launched into a hypothetical Taiwan scenario that is not remotely realistic — US allies like Korea, Thailand and the Philippines have no interest in defending Taiwan, as it is a Taiwanese responsibility.
With all due respect, I don't think either of us mentioned the ROK coming to help Taiwan. The issue is whether anyone will have confidence in US defence agreements if it's clear Washington will fold as soon as any large powers get involved. There's no point having a treaty with the US if it's only good in case you get involved with a conflict with Zimbabwe.

The fact that the US does not have a defence treaty with Taiwan is irrelevant as far as most countries will see it. They'll see it as a matter of China getting its way and humiliating the US, i.e. that the US will never square up against China but just automatically fold. If the US failed to come to the aid of the ROK or Japan, neither country could force a deployment by going to the US courts. It's about political will. If there is no will in Washington to stand up to China, a treaty has the same value as toilet paper.

That's not a "rubbish" post, it's a legitimate viewpoint.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Taiwan can legitimately be classed as a special case, though, because whatever you think of the morality of it, the USA has never recoggnised it as a completely separate state from the mainland. For a long time the USA recognised the KMT government in Taiwan as the legitimate government of all China, then switched to recognising the CCP government in Beijing as the government of all China, & Taiwan as merely a separately governed region of China.

There's no other country or territory in the same position.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
There's no other country or territory in the same position.
There are a few. Somaliland is one I can think of right now. (Unless you're talking about the switching of recognition of the government.)

But in some respects you're right. Taiwan is quite unique in that most of the developed world recognises it is independent but doesn't say so for a variety of reasons.

It's also unique because the US has put a lot of political/diplomatic capital into continuing arms sales there, despite the fact that China has repeatedly demanded they stopped - and even quoted previous US agreements to do so.

I just take the side of those that think if the US lets China take Taiwan (as opposed to tries and fails to stop it) it will make the US look weak and an unreliable power in the face of a strong aggressor. I can accept some countries might cling to their defence treaties with the US in hope they'll work out, but I can equally see them being chucked in the shredder.

Anyway, I'd rather not be blamed for derailing the thread, so I'll leave it there.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Somaliland's never been recognised as a legitimate government, & AFAIK no major country has ever backed it. Nobody'd be letting it down if they stood by while the Mogadishu government took it over, though given their respective degrees of organisation & control of their own territory that isn't on the cards for a long time, if ever.

But yes, we've wandered a little far.
 

OPSSG

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The fact that the US does not have a defence treaty with Taiwan is irrelevant as far as most countries will see it. They'll see it as a matter of China getting its way and humiliating the US, i.e. that the US will never square up against China but just automatically fold.
8. While we can agree to disagree, I believe you are wrong. US policy is to treat Taiwan not as an ally but an irritant to give China a hard time.
If the US failed to come to the aid of the ROK or Japan, neither country could force a deployment by going to the US courts. It's about political will. If there is no will in Washington to stand up to China, a treaty has the same value as toilet paper.
9. You are shifting the goal post and refusing to acknowledge that you are wrong — unlike ROK and Japan, Taiwan does not matter to the US nor to US allies within ASEAN.

10. In contrast to Taiwan, not only have the Americans stood by Japan in providing a security guarantee, the US has also approved some US$20 billion in foreign military sales to Japan, including Japan's purchase of F-35s, E-2D airborne early warning aircraft, the KC-46 refueling tanker, the Global Hawk unmanned aerial system and MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, as well as missiles such as the AIM 120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile, and UGM-84 Harpoon and SM-3 Block IIA ballistic missile defense interceptor missiles.

11. The Japanese government provides nearly US$2 billion per year to offset the cost of stationing the 55,000 U.S. forces in 85 facilities across Japan. Therefore, Japan is a totally different category as an ally with a firm commitment from the Americans.
Anyway, I'd rather not be blamed for derailing the thread, so I'll leave it there.
12. Thanks, let’s go back to discussing the Koreans, with some updates on their general military capability and also on their missile capability development.

13. North Korea unveiled new missile capabilities during a recent military parade to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party.

14. Michael Elleman and Vann H. Van Diepen provide an initial assessment of the missile systems on show. The new missile, in principle, could deliver 2000–3500 kg to any point on CONUS. This is more capable than Soviet R-16 or R-26 ICBMs.

15. The threat from North Korea has not abated—a fact North Korea pointedly reminded the international community of when it blew up the inter-Korean liaison office in Jun 2020. The new North Korean missiles (SRBMs, MRBMs, IRBMs and ICBMs) serve as bargaining chips in any negotiation, and they subtly push U.S. and South Korean elites back to diplomacy. Without them, North Korea is more easily subject to coercion and isolation. The Americans particularly could threaten force credibly, because North Korea lacked the ability to strike the U.S. mainland in response. Now it can. As long as the North Korean threat remains, a strong US–South Korea defense posture to deter aggression and defend the peninsula remains necessary. Pandemic or not, combined military exercises play an important role in making sure that the US and South Korea are prepared for such scenarios.
 

Beholder

Member
I agree that if the US lets China take Taiwan then there will be no point in having defence treaties with the US, because it will be fairly obvious that the US will not tangle with anyone bigger than Iraq or Syria.
And what will happen then? I mean what is a backup plan if China won't stop? And why other countries don't implement it now?
I don't remember US guaranteed to defend Taiwan. I think current US will certainly defend current Taiwan, but all can change with time.
And military balance also can change with time.

This is one reason I think the US doesn't have a choice in whether or not it helps Taiwan, unless it wants to give up being the number 1 global power and publicly hand that position over to China.
Ok, so now US is number 2 and China number 1, so what will other countries will do? Run to China and declare her as new "Leader of democratic world"? :)

As for the ROK, it will depend on whether they want to retain their current independence or are happy to become a Chinese client-state. It's impossible to know what Korean politics will be like in a couple of decades. Relations with Japan could get so bad that an openly pro-China party might win elections.
It's interesting. Becoming Chinese client state is clearly lack of national self preservation. IMO
I mean is it really impossible for ROK to think of other alternatives, just wait US to save them, or resist alone, or surrender to China?
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Taiwan isn’t a jewel in the USA’s national interest per se but any appearance of sacrificing Taiwan might not sit well with many in Congress and as for the American electorate, who knows these days.

ASEAN won’t make an issue about Taiwan but all will be concerned about what other Chinese moves are in store if the US gives the impression it’s ASEAN’s problem alone. Japan is already significantly increasing defence spending and that is partly to appease the US but also is likely a realization US support may be unreliable down the road. SK’s ongoing feud with Japan is in China’s interest. Another possible way for China to screw things is making a Korean reunification possible. The economic drain on SK would be immense in comparison to German reunification.

The wildcard is what effect a change in the US administration will have, wrt to Taiwan probably not much, maybe better times for ASEAN and perhaps a serious effort to get SK and Japan on the same page.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
Three DSCA notifications have gone through for Taiwan.

  1. 6 x MS-110 Recce Pods
  2. 135 x AGM-84Hs
  3. 11 x HIMARS M142 Launchers and 64 ATACMS
The recce pods are fairly nice, but I think the large amount of SLAM-ERs and ATACMs are more significant. That's some significant firepower right there.

Apparently these items were the first to have been referred informally to Congress, with others sent through 1-2 days later, so we can probably expect more notifications tomorrow and/or Friday evening.
 

ngatimozart

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That i'm not sure either, i talked only about cooperation.:)
But if it will happen it will be as alliance of US and Soviet in WW2.IMO
Basically when West push one side, other side will create distraction to weaken pressure.
As you say contradictions will not go away, but both able to ignore it for now.

This is interesting read(year 2015):

PARSING CHINESE-RUSSIAN MILITARY EXERCISES

I would say cooperation is growing.
Like friends with benefits they each have what the other wants. China still requires Russian gas turbine engine technology because it hasn't been able to develop its engines to anywhere near the current level of technology or quality. They certainly can reverse engineer the mechanical side of things, but they aren't able to replicate the metallurgy and that's where their weakness is at the moment. They are probably about a decade or two decades behind in metallurgy expertise but catching up.

The Russians need the Chinese money, pure and simple, to prop up their economy. That's why they don't make a big song and dance about the Chinese ripping off their intellectual property by reverse engineering their aircraft etc. So at present it's analogues to a symbiotic relationship in that respect.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
  1. 400+ Harpoon Block 2
  2. 100 transporters.
That would give Taiwan a lot of mobile anti-ship missiles, with plenty of launchers in case some were destroyed during the opening stages of a conflict.

I'd be interested in how many mobile HF-II/HF-III launchers Taiwan has, but I've not found any information that. @OPSSG (and others), do you know anything about Taiwan's mobile launchers and how many have been built?
 
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OPSSG

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I'd be interested in how many mobile HF-II/HF-III launchers Taiwan has, but I've not found any information that.

@OPSSG (and others), do you know anything about Taiwan's mobile launchers and how many have been built?
I am pretty sure you are asking a question that the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of China would not want to reveal.
Besides the Hsiung Feng anti-ship missile series, the Taiwanese make a wide range of their own missile systems to enable counter value targeting, and these include:
  • Tien Chi (a short-range ballistic missile)
  • Wan Chien (an air-to-ground, subsonic cruise missile)
  • Yun Feng (a Supersonic land-attack cruise missile)
  • Hsiung Feng III
  • Hsiung Feng IIE
  • Hsiung Feng II
  • Hsiung Feng 1 / IA
 
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Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
I am pretty sure you are asking a question that the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of China would not want to reveal.
No problem, I just thought the information might be there albeit behind the language barrier of a domestic (non-English language) Taiwanese newspaper/website.
 
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OPSSG

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Please slow down — take the time to explain China’s position — in a manner that helps others understand her — while reading up and learning other perspectives. Being rude to a moderator, whose job is to keep the peace, is a sure way to lose your right to post. And that would be a pity, as China’s voice needs to be heard.
China has 14 land neigbors, India is the only one China has real territorial problems with. That makes having problems with one out of 14, it's not so bad as many claimed.
Like it or not, policy markers/analysts who write in English and have sympathy or understanding of China are few and rare.

Try to positively engage those that are not yet hostile to China. Remember, even if you argue your best and fail to help others see your point of view, you have lost the audience.

For example, I have a deep lack of trust with Taiwan but I don’t push that point of view. Rather, I present my geo-political perspective (with my background informed). While others may not agree, they always end up learning more and gain an appreciation of why I am sceptical of Taiwan.
Life is a learning journey and let me share a piece on great power influence to educate myself and others who share such similar interests.

And there is also something interesting from Taiwan below. Brings new meaning to fake rubbish.
 
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Ananda

The Bunker Group
India is the only one China has real territorial problems with. That makes having problems with one out of 14, it's not so bad as many claimed
China has continues on and off dispute with Vietnam in SCS, China behaving aggresive in SCS toward Indonesian internationally recognize EEZ (a non claimant in SCS but with area bordering SCS), China intimidating Philippines and Malaysia in the disputed area in SCS.

@Musashi_kenshin point out, China harrasing Japan in the disputed waters. Every Nation in East Asia and most ASEAN now increasing their defense procurement and development mostly with China in mind.

It's not just Western International 'Norm' as you have put. China saying it will be responsible power, but more and more what come out from China is more Military flexing.

I don't think most Chinese citizen even realize their government action already create negative response by half East and South East Asian neighbors. Looking on Chinese media and forums, they only think it's Western Propaganda.

The trust on China is keep decreasing. Most of the neighbors will keep trading with China, but at the same time keep increasing the Defense capabilities to meet China in case it happens.
Perhaps this's what China wants.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
Who told you that? Japan is not a neighbor of Mongolia
Mongolia is a part of East Asia. You can't discount their views just because they're land-locked.

Taiwan(Republic of China) has the same claim over Diaoyu Islands, people in Taiwan repeatedly take the street against Japan's occupation of Diaoyu Islands, on Diaoyu Islands, PRC and ROC are on the same page.
The Taiwanese government lays claim to the Senkaku Islands, but no one takes them seriously. Ordinary Taiwanese have very positive views of Japan.


"Japan remains the favorite country for Taiwanese, with nearly 60 of respondents picking the Northeast Asian country, according to the results of a survey commissioned by the de facto Japanese embassy in Taiwan in February 2019 and released Thursday.

Fifty-nine percent of people in Taiwan preferred Japan over any other foreign country or region in the world, up 4 percent from 2016, when the survey was last conducted, said the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA)."


How about Google?
That isn't evidence of general Taiwanese views. They're evidence a small number of Taiwanese, mostly those who identify as Chinese, have a problem with Japan. If you do general polls of Taiwanese, that's when you get the real results that show Japan is generally well-liked in Taiwan.
 
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