A defense white paper approved by the Japanese Cabinet on Tuesday said that Taiwan was falling behind China in modernization of weapons systems and budget allocations for defense spending.
The overall military balance was shifting in favor of China and the gap was growing wider, the paper said, adding that US arms sales to Taiwan and self-developed weapon programs might be the key to restoring the equilibrium.
Thirty-four pages were about China, including reports on Chinese naval activity expanding to the entire Asia-Pacific region, including Japan.
The potential effects of this on international security are extremely concerning, the paper said.
As of 2014, Taiwan had 215,000 combat-ready military personnel, but the nation’s policy favoring an all-volunteer military could see that number fall to 170,000 to 190,000 by 2019, which would require the adoption of cutting-edge technology and implementation of coordinated combat exercises between the branches of the armed forces, the paper said.
The Republic of China (ROC) Army fields 140,000 troops, including the Marine Corps, although it can mobilize up to 1.66 million, it said.
The ROC Navy has Keelung-class destroyers and other more modernized platforms, while the ROC Air Force has a fleet of F-16A/B jets, Mirage 2000s and the self-produced Indigenous Defense Fighter, the paper said.
Taiwan has Skybow II surface-to-air missiles, Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles, Hsiung Feng II-E cruise missiles and so-called “aircraft carrier killer” supersonic Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles, it said.
While Taiwan has introduced high-speed stealth missile boats, the increasing capabilities of the Chinese missile arsenal, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and the PLA Air Force spell “problems for Taiwan’s weapons modernization,” it said.
Taiwan’s defense budget has not increased in nearly two decades, while China’s “public” defense budget last year was 15 times that of Taiwan’s, it said. Chinese defense spending this year was the equivalent of ￥1.4 trillion (US$12.8 billion), an increase of 7.1 percent from last year.
Compared with defense spending in 1988, China’s defense budget has increased 49-fold, it said, adding that its published budget was only “a portion” of its actual expenditure.
The PLA has overwhelming forces compared with Taiwan, but despite the large number of amphibious landing ships it possesses, its capability to conduct an amphibious landing in Taiwan remains limited, the paper said.
China has the superior numbers, and despite Taiwan’s edge in quality of troops and equipment, “the quality gap is rapidly closing,” it said.
HOT-SPRING RETREAT: A hotel in Japan incurred a loss of about US$1,846 after a Taiwanese man failed to show up for his reservation due to a misunderstood message A Taiwanese man who failed to show up for a hotel reservation in Japan has apologized and offered compensation, the hotel said yesterday. The man, surnamed Lee (李), reserved a room at the Yufuin Tsubaki hot-spring hotel in Oita for the Lunar New Year holiday, but failed to show up on Friday. Lee yesterday called the hotel to apologize and offered to compensate the losses caused by his failure to show up, a hotel employee surnamed Yashiro said. Lee’s wife also called on Sunday to apologize, she said. Lee had booked a two-night stay with upscale seafood and beef meals, the hotel said. His
Two Taiwanese Americans were among those killed in a mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles (TECO LA) said it contacted local authorities, who confirmed that two of the 11 killed in the shooting were Taiwanese Americans. “TECO LA conveys our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, and sends our prayers to the injured for a speedy recovery,” it said in a statement. The office said it is assisting the relatives of one of the victims to travel from
A senior US senator on Monday questioned the willingness of some US allies to help defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Although Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) expects the US and Japan to respond in a war in the Taiwan Strait, he was “a little less confident what our other allies would do,” US Senator John Cornyn said. Australia and New Zealand have voiced support for Taiwan, but it “is a far cry from committing troops to repel an invasion,” Cornyn said during a discussion on China, Russia and the state of US military readiness at a forum hosted
Whisky connoisseurs are a rapidly growing demographic in Taiwan, driving prices ever higher as collectors vie for the most coveted editions. Although not a new pastime, whisky collection has been picking up steam in recent years. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, Taiwan was the third-largest buyer of Scotch whisky in 2021 in monetary terms. One collector, surnamed Fu (傅), said there are many types of whisky that are ripe for collecting. One that has skyrocketed in price in recent years is the Macallan 12-year-old Gran Reserva, which bears a striking purple label, said Fu, who has more than 10 years of experience as