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Thu, Mar 15, 2001 - Page 3 News List

General irate weapons list was printed

ARMS SALES NEGOTIATIONS The Chief of the General Staff dismissed a report in a US newspaper that said Taiwan wanted its weapons wish list made public

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chief of the General Staff General Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) yesterday lashed out at the media for publishing a weapons purchase list which is to be discussed at the upcoming annual arms talks between Taiwan and US.

"The consequences of the [unauthorized] exposure of the weapons purchase list by the media may be beyond my control. I strongly hope the media will understand that our country is in a very difficult situation," Tang said.

Tang made the remarks yesterday at the Legislative Yuan's Defense Committee meeting in response to inquiries from an opposition lawmaker about the recent publication in a US newspaper of a list of weapons which Taiwan is hoping to buy from the US.

"We know the news was provided to the newspaper [the Washington Times] by a special assistant to a US congressman. We have checked with the report's source and found that he did not intend to leak the information to the press," Tang said.

Tang pointed out another mistake found in the news report, which quoted an anonymous Taiwan general as saying that it was Taiwan which wanted the weapons purchase list to be made public.

"We have interviewed the general referred to and have found that what the news report said was not true," Tang said.

"It is a mutual understanding and agreement between Taiwan and US that neither side should openly discuss arms sales between the two sides. We will not and shall not break the rule."

Tang refused to speak on anything related to the upcoming arms talk between Taiwan and US, despite many attempts by lawmakers on the defense committee to urge him to speak on the issue.

It was Tang's first appearance at the Defense Committee in the new session of the legislature.

Taiwan's wish list as published in the 'Washington Times' on March 12

* Four AEGIS-equipped guided missile destroyers, to improve Taiwan's capability to defend against aircraft attacks.

* Four Kidd-class destroyers to provide a more immediate defense before the first AEGIS ships are delivered in 2009.

* P-3 submarine-hunting aircraft with longer-range and more accurate missiles and torpedoes that will help Taiwan counter any Chinese blockade.

* High-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARM) to counter new Chinese S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

* Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and longer-range guided bombs capable of hitting land targets.

* AIM-120 air-to-air missiles based in Taiwan instead of Arizona, as the Clinton administration demanded, when it approved the missile sale last year.

*Aircraft identification equipment to help pilots avoid being shot down by friendly fire.

* Night-vision goggles and helmet-sighted air-to-air missiles, to balance similar systems recently acquired by China from Russia.

* Radar-illumination detection equipment for Taiwan's domestic jet fighters and guidance systems for those fighters' missiles.

* Naval ship-to-ship missiles and anti-aircraft missiles.

* Submarines to counter Chinese plans to blockade the country during any conflict.

* Longer-range and more accurate artillery for Taiwanese ground forces, and Apache attack helicopters equipped with advanced radar. These arms would be used by ground forces against an invading Chinese military force.

*Advanced armored vehicles and tanks for use against Chinese amphibious forces.

* Long-range radar systems to detect missile launches and aircraft.

* Sharing of US missile early warning data, like that provided to several Persian Gulf states and Russia.

* An integrated US command and control system that would allow Taiwan to conduct combined arms warfare using naval, air and ground forces.

Source: Washington Times


Tang delivered a report on how the military is to conduct this year's Hankuang No. 17 joint-forces exercise.

It was also the first time that a chief of the general staff has publicly reported on a major military exercise like the Hankuang series exercises, which have been held annually since 1984.

In his report, Tang highlighted the significance of the exercise as a comprehensive test of the combat readiness of the new-generation armed forces, which have been formed in sequence over the past few years along with the Chingshih personnel streamlining and organizational restructuring project.

The exercise is to be divided into two parts: computer war games and live maneuvers of troops in the field.

The computer war-gaming portion began on Tuesday and will continue for two weeks, while troop maneuvers are to start in late March and will last until the middle of April.

The computer war games will simulate different attacks on Taiwan by China and Taiwan's countermeasures against these scenarios.

They are also to involve cyber warfare between troops posing as opposing blue and red armies.

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