Tue, Feb 25, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Former military leader urges no to offensive buildup

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A retired military leader yesterday said that the military should not develop offensive capabilities because it will cost too much money and prove unrealistic.

Retired army Lieutenant General Fu Ying-chuan (傅應川) suggested that the military focus on developing information warfare and electronic and high-energy weapons as countermeasures against threats from China.

"China is too big a target for us," Fu said. "Can you imagine how much weaponry we would need to effectively deter China? It would cost us too much money."

"Offensive capabilities based on conventional weaponry will have a very limited effect. Given the conditions, we might as well develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent against China. But we would pay a high price for developing and owning nuclear weapons," he said. "It would be unrealistic."

"The best solution for the military is to develop information warfare, and electronic and high-energy weapons to counter threats from China. The application of these weapons and tactics could paralyze not only China's command center but also its morale," he said.

Fu made the remarks yesterday as he delivered a speech at a meeting of the Society for Strategic Studies, which was founded by late General Wego Chiang (蔣緯國) and has been commissioned by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to conduct research into military strategy.

In recent years, calls for developing offensive capabilities against China are getting stronger in the military. The US is also hinting that it would support Taiwan military plans for an active defense.

In fact, behind the scenes, the military has already put the idea into practice.

Sources say the military's Chun Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) has developed a surface-to-surface missile (SSM) with a range of 300km, capable of reaching China's coastal provinces.

The SSM, already a successful product, can not yet be mass-produced because of technical glitches.

The limited production of the SSM and its relatively short range and light payload will limit the effect of the weapon against China.

The electronic weapons that Fu referred to are the electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) bombs that are very effective in disrupting enemy power systems and military infrastructure.

The CSIST is also developing an EMP bomb and is reported to have made some progress.

Information warfare covers computer warfare -- such as hacking into enemy mainframes and terminals -- as well as media propaganda.

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