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Wed, May 03, 2000 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan must learn from Kosovo


To cope with a potential invasion from China, the military has studied the Kosovo conflict for lessons.

What military strategy researchers at a top military academy have discovered is that Taiwan can learn a lot from Yugoslavia and Kosovo's strategy of engagement against stronger allied troops.

Following the example of Yugoslavia, Taiwan can avoid direct confrontation with invaders and save its strength for the most effective strike, researchers at the Armed Forces University said.

"In the Kosovo operations, NATO troops launched fierce and intensive bombing against targets in Yugoslavia for a duration of 78 days. Though unable to fight back, Yugoslavia managed to turn NATO troops' heavy reliance on high-tech weapons to its advantage," said Colonel Kan Yi-han (康宜杭), one of the researchers.

"In an example of asymmetrical warfare, Yugoslavia used a combination of various kinds of tactics to waste the NATO troops' ammunition. This led to the downing of Stealth F-117 fighter planes and the failure of Cruise missiles to destroy valuable military assets," Kang said.

"Without being able to subject Yugoslavia to its demand through force, NATO eventually gave in to Yugoslavia in exchange for a peaceful resolution to the operations. If a war breaks out between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, it will be asymmetrical in nature, like what happened in the Kosovo operations," he said.

Kang made the remarks at a seminar on the Kosovo war at the Armed Forces University, based in Taoyuan County, as part of a speech he delivered to the press.

Colonel Wu Chih-kung (吳志功), a lecturer at the university's air force college, said Taiwan is much in the same situation as Yugoslavia, in the face of military threat from a much stronger opponent.

"We must not seek a decisive battle with China in the event of a war between the two sides. We must try our best to keep our war machine mostly intact so that we may fight back at the best time," Wu said.

"We must save our combat strength for the most effective strike. Besides force, we must also seek a solution of the conflict through political means at the same time," he said.

Kang, citing examples from the Kosovo war, said Yugoslavia had only a small number of fighter planes and anti-aircraft missiles, but that it was able to effectively use all it had against high-tech weapons of the NATO.

Lieutenant General Fu Wei-ku (傅尉孤), director of the air force college of the university, said China will very likely opt for a saturation attack in its first strike at Taiwan.

"To offset the impact of a saturation attack, Taiwan has two options -- to scatter military assets and strengthen protection for them, as well as to upgrade the ability of the military to regain combat strength after a substantial strike," Fu said.

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