China's military modernization strategy is to deter US involvement in a cross-strait conflict and to prevail if the US does intervene, said the US-China Commission's annual report to Congress. \nThe report also warned that the removal of the EU arms embargo against China currently under consideration would accelerate Beijing's weapons modernization and dramatically enhance Chinese military capabilities. \n"A key element of China's military modernization program has extensive acquisitions of foreign military technologies, particularly from Russia," the report said. "[The removal of the EU arms embargo would then] dramatically enhance Chinese military capabilities and might lead Russia to authorize the export of even more sophisticated systems to China." \nThe commission's report includes the details of its investigations into nine specific areas that were identified by Congress for the commission's review and recommendations. \nThese areas include China's economic reforms, US economic transfers to China, Chinese government's media control efforts and China's economic and security impact in Asia. \nTo examine China's military modernization and the cross-strait balance, the commission held a hearing on Feb. 6. In addition to experts and analysts, the commission heard from senior State and Defense Department officials on developments in US-China-Taiwan relations. The commission also supported two research projects on China's arms buildup. \nAccording to the report, China's official defense budget allocation for weapons procurement showed an approximately 1,000 percent increase over a 12-year period, outpacing China's rapid growth in GDP. \nThe share of the budget devoted to weapons procurement also increased, from 16.3 percent in 1990 to 33.8 percent in 2002. Although the officially announced budget this year is more than US$25 billion, the report believed that the budget is grossly underreported. \nIt is estimated that China's total defense-related expenditures this year may be between US$50 to US$70 billion, ranking China third in defense spending after the US and Russia. \nWhile China's missile threat is extremely serious, Taiwan has "limited dedicated military assets to guard against such an attack," the report said. \n"China's increasing ballistic missile inventory may have already in fact altered the status quo in the Taiwan Strait," it said. "The necessity of maintaining a US policy of ambiguity concerning Taiwan's de jure status should not blind us to the de facto shift that is taking place in the military balance." \nThe report also pointed out that China's weapon development and acquisitions are an increasing challenge to American technical military superiority in the region. \n"The Chinese strategy of improving its force options versus Taiwan and the ability to deter and counter US military intervention is fast becoming a reality," the report said. "China is no longer purchasing massive numbers of weapons systems but is pursuing initiatives to obtain licenses and to co-produce weapons for export." \nThis was a significant emerging issue, the report said, as this level of cooperation with Russia would help China's goal of being "a modern weapons-producing nation." \n"It appears the Chinese buildup is designed to forestall measures that China perceives as steps toward independence by Taiwan and to coerce Taiwan to end the island's continued separate status," it said.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she
IN PRINCIPLE: The Central Epidemic Command Center began yesterday to ban visits to hospitalized patients, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 10 new COVID-19 cases — eight imported and two locally transmitted — bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 339. The imported cases involved six men and two women, all Taiwanese, who had traveled to Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, countries in Latin America, the UK or the US before arriving back in Taiwan between March 6 and Tuesday, center data showed. Among them, patient No. 338 was part of a tour group that traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic, and has resulted in an infection cluster of five cases,