Sat, Mar 10, 2007 - Page 1 News List

New Pacific commander vows commitment to Taiwan

SECURITY Admiral Timothy Keating, incoming chief of the US military in the Pacific, said that strengthening Taiwan's defensive capability was one of his top concerns

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

Keating also downplayed the advances China has made in acquir-ing advanced submarines, which could be used to prevent the US from effectively intervening against any Chinese attack on Taiwan.

In a brief interview with the Taipei Times after his appearance, Keating first expressed the hope that any attack would not occur.

"Should it become necessary for us to put our forces [in harm's way], the development of Chinese submarines are a concern to us, but it is hardly an insurmountable concern," he said.

In response to a question at his hearing, Keating dismissed reports of recent gains in Chinese submarine development.

"If the reports are fairly accurate, they are well behind us technologically. We enjoy significant advantages across the spectrum of defensive and offensive systems, in particular undersea warfare," he said. "I can assure you that we're not unfamiliar with the challenges, and we have significant advantage now and we're not going to yield those advantages."

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