Mon, Jul 20, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan does not seek arms race

‘NEED TO KEEP WATCH’ A defense White Paper by the Japanese Defense Ministry said that the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait continued to tilt in China’s favor

DPA AND AFP , TAIPEI

Taiwan will seek to buy modern weapons from the US for self-­defense only and not to spark an arms race with China, the Ministry of National Defense said on Saturday.

“We have changed the definition of ‘winning the war’ from ‘winning against our enemies’ to ‘preventing enemies from landing in Taiwan,’” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday night.

“Under this guideline, we want to build a small but strong armed force to defend our country and fend off enemy invasion,” the ministry said.

The statement was issued in response to a Japanese Defence White Paper released by the Defense Ministry on Friday.

The White Paper warned that “the military balance between China and Taiwan has changed to the advantage of China” and that China in recent years has begun to make its military capable of assuming missions other than a Taiwan contingency.

“We need to keep watch of China’s maritime activities,” the Japanese Defense Ministry said in the annual white paper.

“Given the modernization of China’s navy and air force, it is expected that their capability will expand beyond China’s adjacent waters,” it said, pointing to recent cases of Chinese vessels passing close to Japanese territorial waters.

The ministry said Taiwan would continue to seek US approval of sales of diesel submarines, military helicopters, PAC-III anti-­missile systems and F-16C/D fighter aircraft.

In related news, local media yesterday cited Reserve Command sources as saying that an initial investigation launched by the ministry into an obscene video involving two male sergeants while on duty found that the incident happened three years ago as a group of sergeants from a reserve brigade were taking a training course.

A cable news channel last week aired a video showing the soldiers, wearing camouflage uniforms, possibly engaged in a sex act while about 40 other servicemen looked on and laughed.

The video sparked public outrage and drew criticism from both the governing and opposition parties, with some lawmakers threatening to cut the defense budget. The ministry later apologized for the scandal, which it said had tarnished the military’s image.

Local media yesterday cited Reserve Command sources as saying that an initial probe showed that 32 people could be investigated, though all but one have retired from the army.

The video was the latest in a series of scandals to hit the military.

A recent crackdown has led to the investigation of 114 generals over allegations of corruption and bribery for career advancement. The investigation was launched in April after a retired lieutenant general was indicted on charges of bribery, blackmail and leaking classified material.

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