Fri, Jan 10, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan's military failings identified


A former US deputy assistant defense secretary yesterday identified five challenges facing Taiwan's armed forces.

Peter Brookes, who is now director of the Asia research department of the US think tank Heritage Foundation, made the remarks in a keynote speech delivered at a seminar.

It's up to Taiwan to resolve most of these challenges while the US can only assist in resolving a few of them, Brookes said. Otherwise, he added, Taiwan will be unable to cope with China's military threat in the future.

In his view, Brookes said, the Taiwan Strait is even more complicated than the Korean Peninsula.

Noting that China's continued modernization of its troops and arsenals is the most direct threat to Taiwan, Brookes said Beijing's military build-up goal is to acquire the capability to paralyze Taiwan before the US can get involved and force Taiwan to accept its political terms at the least possible cost.

Because of Beijing's diplomatic embargo, Brookes said, Taiwan faces international isolation and has few opportunities for military exchanges with other countries.

Brookes further said Taiwan's military strategy is basically defensive and a bit conservative and that its bureaucratic system has yet to forge an efficient mechanism for the rapid response needed in modern warfare. Moreover, he said, Taiwan's recent economic downturn could affect Taiwan's ability to buy weapons.

Taiwan's challenges

* International isolation

* Conservative military concepts

* Inefficient bureaucratic system

* Economic pressure

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