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Feeding the dragon

Posted By Charles Smith On 02/23/2000 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

On Monday, China issued a so-called white paper titled, “The
One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue.” In effect, China openly
declared that the “motherland” will rescue its long lost brothers and
sisters in Taiwan, even if it has to murder everyone on the island to
accomplish that task.

Included in the paper is a warning from an ever more belligerent
Beijing aimed directly at America. According to the red leaders in
Beijing, if there is no “settlement of cross-Straits reunification
through negotiations then the Chinese government will only be forced to
adopt all drastic measures possible, including the use of force, to
safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The official Chinese government statement warned America to
discontinue weapons sales to Taiwan, stating that it will not tolerate
“gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a grave threat to
China’s security.”

At this moment in human history, Taiwan is taking a great leap into
the unknown for an Asian nation. According to the top expert on China
in Congress, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., “the upcoming
March national election in Taiwan marks an important milestone. For the
first time in thousands of years of recorded Chinese history, a
democratically elected Chinese leader, President Lee Teng-hui, will
peacefully hand over power to an elected successor.”

Yet, as the Taiwanese people reach for democracy, the western powers
cower in the shadows of Beijing and the massive People’s Liberation
Army. In America, President Clinton presses Congress to expand trade
with Beijing, ignoring the threats, bypassing
the espionage, glossing over the fascist repression sweeping China, and
allowing an ever more powerful Chinese military to reign free across the
shores of the Pacific.

In early January, Rohrabacher led a congressional mission on a
fact-finding trip to our Asian allies, including Taiwan. Rohrabacher
was accompanied by his special assistant, Al Santoli, a national
security and Asia-Pacific expert, and Jeffrey Baxter, an advisor on
anti-ballistic missile systems and a special reserve officer with the
Los Angeles Police Department Anti-Terrorism Unit.

According to Rohrabacher, the Taiwanese leaders expressed concern
about aggression from the PRC during the upcoming elections in Taiwan
and the U.S. elections in November. At present the Taiwanese three-way
presidential race is too close to call. The upcoming election and
post-election periods present a very real danger of intimidation or
violent aggression by the People’s Republic of China.

“The (Taiwanese) Defense Minister and high ranking flag officers
believe that the PRC could try some type of tactical or covert military
action, such as a missile launch or seizure of an island,” stated
Rohrabacher in his report on Taiwan.

According to Rohrabacher and his research team, “Taiwan is
dangerously vulnerable to air and missile attacks. Currently, Taiwan
has less than one minute warning time to prepare to defend against a
ballistic missile launch by the PRC, and less than 3 minutes warning
time to defend against high performance jet fighter-bombers taking off
from PRC bases.”

“The best means to prevent PRC aggression against Taiwan during the
March election and in the near future is for the United States
government to rapidly upgrade Taiwan’s defense capabilities,” states
Rohrabacher’s report.

“Some Clinton Administration officials fear that such actions would
provoke the PRC. However, if the U.S. government does not deliver these
urgently needed defense systems, an attack is more likely. Currently,
the PRC correctly understands that Taiwan is vulnerable to tactical air
strikes and nearly defenseless against missiles.”

According to Rohrabacher, the only road to peace in Asia is a strong
defense for Taiwan. The only way to deter hungry, nationalistic, China
from swallowing the newborn Asian democracy so close to its shores is to
arm the Taiwanese. Rohrabacher’s plan for peace provides “defensive”
weapons that will deter the People’s Liberation Army and turn Taiwan
into a shield that can stand between freedom and the massive red Army.

Details from Rohrabacher’s plan include:

Provide Aegis systems: Taiwan seeks the Aegis system for naval
early warning and as a backup system for its land-based national missile
and air defense system. All military leaders in Taiwan stated that
acquiring an Aegis system is their foremost national
defense priority. Taiwan’s current Patriot Pac 2-Plus system has a
range of only 80 miles, which does not cover the 100 mile distance to
the PRC coast. The Patriot radar system can only detect the downward
trajectory of a ballistic missile. However, Aegis radar can detect the
launch of a ballistic missile, which would provide vital additional time
to prepare anti-missile or anti-aircraft defense.

Provide early-warning radars: The United States should
rapidly provide much-needed early warning radar systems and components
necessary to upgrade Taiwan’s defensive systems during the first half of
2000. Radar systems requested by Taiwan include the AN/TPS 59 and the
AN/TPS 75 systems.

Rapidly share DOD findings: In order for the Taiwan
legislature to appropriate funds needed to rapidly purchase essential
radars and defensive weapons components, the U.S. Defense Department
should provide Taiwan the findings of its 1999 assessment studies by not
later than February 2000. The appropriation bill for FY2001 is voted on
in the legislature during mid-to late-March.

Provide the Link 16 data sharing system: The Link 16 system
is imperative for weapons systems inter-operability. It is also
essential for integrating Aegis with other air defense systems,
including C4I and national missile defense.

Upgrade airborne early-warning assets: The U.S. government
should provide Taiwan with an upgrade to its E-2T early warning
aircraft. The Link 16 would help the E2-T communicate with other land
and sea based defense systems and vastly improve Taiwan’s air defense
capability.

Provide GPS systems for Taiwan’s Patriot systems: Two years
ago, the U.S. DOD promised delivery of GPS systems for Taiwan’s Patriot
defense systems. That promise should be immediately fulfilled.

Release the AMRAAM air-to-air missiles: The U.S. government
has provided Taiwan the software and training for the AMRAAM, but not
the actual missile.

Provide Apache helicopters with advanced anti-tank weapons:
Taiwan’s M-60 battle tanks are a poor match for the PRC’s new generation
T-90 battle tanks. The best defense against the T-90s would be
helicopters with advanced anti-tank capability and a new generation of
main battle tanks.

Why arm Taiwan against an invasion?

The leadership in Taiwan asserts that the only answer to maintain
peace in the region is not to back down in the face of threats from
Beijing. Historically, they are correct.

In 1938, Adolf Hitler pressed the western powers of France and
England to split Czechoslovakia. According to Hitler, a long lost tribe
of Germans, called the Sudetens, had been separated from the
“fatherland” and placed inside the Czech homeland by the unfair treaty
of Versailles in 1918. Hitler pressed his case against the weak-knee
democracies, backed by the growing power of the German Army.

The Sudetens were hardly a lost tribe of Germans, waiting for Hitler
to bring them home. However, the Western powers backed down in the face
of German aggression and democratic Czechoslovakia was split into two by
decree. Only a few months later, the German army rushed across what
remained of the shattered Czech homeland, setting the stage for World
War II.

Clearly, any invasion of Taiwan would also require China to strike at
the U.S. allies in Asia. The Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and the
U.S. forces based in Okinawa would all come under attack. An invasion
of Taiwan would signal the start of a world war.

Today, we stand on the brink of another world war, or 50 years of
continued peace. The mistakes of 1938 can and are being repeated in
Washington, London and Paris. President Clinton’s legacy in office may
yet be the first global war of this century.

Bill Clinton wants to buy a little more time until the next round of
hunger strikes Beijing. The choice is ours to make. We can help the
Taiwanese people to defend their liberty or we can feed the dragon yet
another piece of humanity.



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