A Taiwanese paratrooper in training in Zuoying, Kaohsiung, southern

Taiwan, Feb. 6. Taiwan's Defense Ministry has announced large-scale

military exercises in the coming weeks.



China Post, Taiwan

What are the Americans Actually Selling Taiwan?'


"What the U.S. is selling is a sense of security. And Taiwan is happily buying it despite the exorbitant price. But that sense of security doesn't come from military hardware, but rather the implications attached to the weapons."




February 6, 2010


Taiwan - China Post - Original Article (English)

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou: In what may be the hardest job in the democratic world, he must accept American military aid to deter an invasion by the mainland, while protecting the interests of 23 million Taiwanese, many of whom do business in authoritarian China.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: China warns the U.S. on Taiwan weapons sale and meeting with Dalai Lama, Feb. 2, 00:02:07RealVideo

Washington and Beijing have locked horns over the latest U.S. weapons sale to Taiwan, as well as some other thorny issues, including President Obama's planned meeting with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. It remains to be seen what will become of relations between the two superpowers - and theirs with Taiwan.


But a question needs to be asked about the weapons sales: What is the U.S. really selling Taiwan? Or in other words, what does Taiwan think the U.S. government is selling?


The $6.4 billion Taiwan's defensive package includes 114 Patriot PAC-3 Missiles, 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, two Osprey Class mine hunting ships, 12 ATM-84L and RTM-84L Harpoon Block II Telemetry missiles, 35 multi-functional information distribution systems low volume terminals (MIDS/LVT 1), and 25 MIDS On Ships Terminals.


The Obama Administration hasn't actually approved anything new. Some of the weapon systems were already promised by Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, and others are part of other ongoing programs.


But the new package excludes some of the things Bush promised: diesel-powered submarines and F16C/D jet fighters.



That's the hardware side. On the political side, the package represents a reiteration by Washington of the Taiwan Relations Act, which obliges the U.S. to sell defensive weapons to the island.


Taiwan has few enemies to defend itself from; perhaps just one. But that happens to be a superpower that claims sovereignty over the island, and constantly threatens to invade should it declare formal independence.


The hardware that America is selling Taiwan isn't sufficient to defend against the hundreds of Chinese missiles that target Taiwan. What the United States is selling Taiwan is a sense of security. And Taiwan is happily buying it, despite the exorbitant price.




Taipei Times, Taiwan: We Taiwanese 'Must Risk Our Lives' for Freedom

Taiwan News: Inadequate U.S. Arms Deal Shows Failure of Taiwan President

Global Times, China: U.S. Arms Sale to Taiwan 'Not Necessarily Bad'

Die Tageszeitung, Germany: Taiwan Arms Sales a Gut Check for U.S.

Rceczpospolita, Poland: China Feels Her Oats at America's Expense

China Daily, China: U.S. Weapons Sale to Taiwan will 'Sour Ties'

Taiwan News, Taiwan: Taiwan Leader Welcomes American Weapons Deal


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President Ma Ying-jeou's comment on the latest weapons sale is that Taiwan will feel "more secure and confident" when handling cross-strait relations. But that sense of security doesn't come from hardware, but rather the implications attached to the weapons.



In fact, the president may not really want to buy these weapons, now that Taiwan seems to need them least, judging from the gradually easing tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US February 10, 9:25pm]


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