The revelation last week that Taiwan Goal, a private arms company, had been created with an initial investment of NT$200 million (US$6.3 million) -- NT$90 million of which came from the Ministry of National Defense -- raised alarm in some quarters. Why the hush-hush business, some asked, while others seemed shocked to learn that the private sector could get involved in national defense.
But more ink was spilled on the matter than was necessary. A quick look at the US defense establishment, to use one example, shows us that the private sector in democratic societies has always played a role in weapons manufacturing. The private sector's distance from government bureaucracy, for one, as well as the dynamics of the market, gives it more flexibility and effectiveness in the development of weapons.
From Crown Corporations in Canada to the RAND Corp think tank in the US (created by the US Air Force, then a division of Douglas Aircraft), governments have a long history of farming out their work to private companies. Even consumer appliance manufacturers like GE are major weapons manufacturers, a fact that most Americans are unaware of.
Given Taiwan's unusual political situation and how this affects its ability to acquire the weapons it needs to defend itself, the creation of a private firm makes a lot of sense. Such an arrangement will, for one, facilitate contacts at the corporate level and thereby counter the hesitation of states to discuss arms sales with Taiwan at the state level.
The laws of the free market, rather than pure politics, will decide if, when and from whom Taiwan acquires weapons.
This, however, does not mean that all of a sudden Taiwan will be able to acquire whatever weapons it desires, as sensitive technology, even that which is developed by foreign private companies, remains subject to arms control mechanisms that are the remit of governments. Nor does it mean that Beijing will not pressure governments into preventing their private sector from cooperating with Taiwan. Nevertheless, given the greater independence of the private sector and the pull of business interests, it should facilitate Taiwan's efforts to acquire weapons and give it more flexibility as to where it buys them. In other words, it would diminish Taiwan's reliance on US-made weapons.
Where Taiwan Goal promises to be of the greatest benefit to Taiwan, however, is in development, as this will help it circumvent arms control mechanisms altogether, because Taiwan itself would be involved in the development. Such was the case with the "Ching Kuo" Indigenous Defense Fighter -- whose development in Taiwan (a joint US-Taiwan venture) was a compromise, as Washington was loath to sell Taipei the advanced F-20 aircraft it wanted. It will also help it to customize weapons to meet its specific needs.
Still, this new endeavor is not without risks, and the appropriate oversights must be put in place to ensure that a nascent private defense industry in Taiwan does not see arms exports as its raison d'etre, as would a military-industrial complex. There is enough proliferation out there without Taiwan adding to it.
In other words, as long as Taiwan Goal retains the goal of helping Taiwan defend itself, it will be welcome. That the government has a hand in the company could ensure the company doesn't lose sight of that goal.
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forward Forum in Taipei, former Singaporean minister for foreign affairs George Yeo (楊榮文) proposed a “Chinese commonwealth” as a potential framework for political integration between Taiwan and China. Yeo said the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait is unsustainable and that Taiwan should not be “a piece on the chessboard” in a geopolitical game between China and the US. Yeo’s remark is nothing but an ill-intentioned political maneuver that is made by all pro-China politicians in Singapore. Since when does a Southeast Asian nation have the right to stick its nose in where it is not wanted
As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and
More Taiwanese semiconductor companies, from chip designers to suppliers of equipment and raw materials, are feeling the pinch due to increasing competition from their Chinese peers, who are betting all their resources on developing mature chipmaking technologies in a push for self-sufficiency, as their access to advanced nodes has been affected by US tech curbs. A lack of chip manufacturing technology such as extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) would ensure that Chinese companies — Huawei Technology Co in particular — lag behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co by five to six years, some analysts have said.
For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system. Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA,