Sat, Nov 18, 2006 - Page 1 News List

US panel urges Congress to end Taiwan's isolation

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

On the military and strategic side, the commission urged Congress to "encourage" the Legis-lative Yuan to approve the purchase of US weapons which has been held up in the legislature for more than two years, "or alternative systems that will enhance Taiwan's defense capability." It also suggested that "additional arms requests from Taiwan be considered by the US government on their merits."

It also complains that Beijing's military modernization is giving China an ever greater military edge in the Taiwan Strait, coupled with China's increasing capability to deny access to any US force coming to Taiwan's aid.

"The commission concludes that Taiwan's ability to defend itself from attack and intimidation is in doubt, and that China could impede the United States' ability to intervene successfully in a crisis or conflict," it said.

In that regard, the commission sees "a substantial agreement among experts" that a "window of vulnerability" will exist between 2008 and 2015 impeding the US ability to intervene against a Chinese military attack, because of Chinese military advances and delays in US counter-measures.

"If the United States had to exercise any military operations in the Western Pacific, it would certainly make it more difficult for the United States to do so, and would impede the speed and flexibility with which we could act," Wortzel said.

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