Fri, Jan 10, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Offense best defense, officer says


Taiwan should develop offensive capabilities to counter military threats from China, Lieutenant General Fu Wei-ku (傅慰孤), the deputy commander-in-chief of the air force, said yesterday.

Such offensive capabilities, called "counter operations" by Fu to avoid controversy, would be a cost-effective way for Taiwan to neutralize the threat from China, Fu said.

"Counter operations are the only way to totally remove the source of threat from the enemy. We aim to effectively deter the Chinese military. We do not intend to challenge them," he said.

"According to calculations by the US military, the cost-effectiveness of offensive operations against defensive ones is one to nine. It means that if the enemy spends US$100 million on developing missiles to attack us, we have to spend nine times the money on building defensive measures," he said.

"The actual cost that the defensive side might have to spend could be more than 180 times that of the enemy. To defend against the enemy's missiles, we have to build defensive systems ranging from early warning aircraft, early warning satellites, ground-based early warning radar, C4I [command, control, communication, computers and intelligence] systems, as well as low-tier, high-tier and sea-based missile defense systems," he said.

"All these systems would cost more than US$18 billion. Furthermore, they are not enough to help us escape from the missile threat from China.

"Give these conditions, I suggest that the military should develop the capability of launching counter operations against the enemy," he said.

Fu made the remarks yesterday at a conference on "Taiwan Security and Air Power," which was organized by Taiwan's deputy representative to the US, Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲). Fu spoke as a moderator at the afternoon session of the one-day conference.

The remarks were made as a response to calls from a number of scholars, who participated in the conference either as paper presenters or audience members, for the military to develop active defense or offensive capabilities.

A retired Japanese general, who was invited as a commentator at the conference, agreed on the defensive benefits of developing offensive capabilities.

Retired Lieutenant General Tomohiro Okamoto, now a military advisor to the Nippon Electric Co, suggested that the Taiwan military could develop surface-to-surface missiles.

Some US scholars at the conference, though not voicing support for the idea, said the US government might not accept it at first but that Taiwan could try to convince them of the need.

Fu said the main reason the military had been unable to develop offensive capabilities was influence from some foreign countries.

The US has been unwilling to support Taiwan's plan to develop offensive capabilities for fear of affecting the military balance in the Taiwan Strait.

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