"The U.S., China and the Security of Taiwan"

Report China

"The U.S., China and the Security of Taiwan"

February 3, 1983 34 min read Download Report
Jeffrey B.
Senior Associate Fellow

(Archived document, may contain errors)

245 February 3 1983 THE U.S CHINA AND THE SECURITY OF TAIWAN INTRODUCTION During the first two years of the Reagan Administration constructing a coherent China policy has posed a vexing problem.

The United States regrettably has allowed demands by the People's Republic of China (PRC) concerning Taiwan to dominate U.S. China policy, and even U.S. relations'with Asia in general. In parti cular, Washington felt compelled to react positi vely to Peking's demands that all arms sales to Taiwan be terminated. In the five months following a Joint Coqmuniqu6 of last August, it has become increasingly obvious that the major concessions made to Peking have led to neither a more conciliatory PRC attitude toward the U.S., nor a diminution in demands that the U.S. place additional pressure on Taiwan (Republic of China) to succumb to the PRC.

Rather than pacifying the PRC or protecting vital U.S. interests these unnecessary unilateral concessions, as they had in the three. previous administrations, only stimulated more exorbitant demands in subsequent negotiating periods.

Through the provisions of the August Joint Communiqui, the Reagan Administration has substantially undermined the character of U.S. China policy carefully crafted by Congress in the course of passing the Taiwan Relations Act TRA) in 19

79. That act provided a workable foundation for dealing with the fundamental reality of the two hostile Chinese authorities governing the Republic of China and the PRC. Moreover, the TRA protected the close ties established over nearly three decades between Taiwan and the U.S as manifested in the Mutual Security Treaty and a wide range of economic, social, ad cultural bonds as well.

The August Joint C ommuniqub, more than the actions of any previous administration, threatens the continued integrity and security of Taiwan. .By asserting more carelessly than ever before that Taiwan is China's internal affair and that the U.S 2 has no intention of interfe r ing in China's internal affairs, the Reagan Administration has logically undermined Taiwan's already precarious legal position. This invariably leads to endless demands from Peking to further degrade the status of Taiwan, such as the recent assertion that Taipei should be expelled from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Taiwan is a founding member of the ADB and has fulfilled all of its obliga tions there. Therefore the United States should not act on behalf of Peking's political aggression to expel TaiQan, particularly since such action would violate both Section 4(d of the Taiwan Relations Act and Section 25 of the Foreign Assistance Authoriza tion Act (P.L 96-259) passed by Congress in 1980 By stating that the U.S understands and appreciates" Peking's "pe a ceful overtures" to Taiwan, the Reagan Administration in effect ignored the PRC's political history for the past thirty four years trance in Taipei prevents an accommodation between the two Chinese political authorities. Clearly the terms of any currently possible agreement have been set in Peking and require nothing less than the obliteration of the de.facto sovereignty of Taiwan bending toward Peking's rhetoric on Taiwan, the U.S. makes any mutual accommodation of interests far, less likely.

The principa l provision in the Communiqug reduces, and presumably will terminate, arms sales to Taiwan. By placing stringent military sanctions on Taiwan that adversely affect both its military and psychological strength, the U.S. gratuitously applies pressure on beh a lf of Peking that can ultimately be fatal to Taipei. If, as reported, Washington were considering provid- ing the PRC with detailed information on the defensive equipment supplied to Taipei over thirty years, the U.S. would be committ ing an unprecedented action toward an ally-turning over informa- tion to a hostile communist regime for the information during the upcoming Shultz visit to Peking.

In the face of the obviously escalating potential PRC mili tary threat to Taiwan, the U.S. should have pursued e xactly the opposite course of action and provided advanced fighters to Taipei along with other new military equipment. Only a military balance across the Taiwan Straits can preserve peace in the area.

If the Reagan. Administration fails to reverse 'the di rection of its China policy, the possibility of open military conflict between an increasingly powerful and aggressive PRC and an increas- ingly desperate and insecure Taiwan can only be enhanced. Further such a betrayal of an ally will seriously erode U. S . credibility in Asia and ultimately diminish its security capabilities in East Asia generally. Finally, the futility of basing U.S. political and military policy on Peking's reliability is amply demonstrated by the current prospect of a modest rapprochem e nt between the PRC and the Soviet Union The implication arises therefore that only recalci By thus The PRC will likely press 1 I I I I I I i i The language of the entire Communiqui appears in Appendix I. 3 THE U.S. POLITICAL RETREAT FROM TAIWAN The August 17, 1982, CommuniquC marked a possibly decisive political turnaround in the decade of discussions between Washing ton and Peking. President Ronald Reagan and Assistant Secretary of State John Holdridge both issued statements that downplayed the significan c e of the CommuniquC, implying that it merely continued previous policies. Analysis of the text of the agree ment and its obvious implications indicates that the agreement seriously tilts U.S. policy in favor of Peking's efforts to obliterate Taiwan as a v iable independent political entity.

President Reagan stated on August 17 that "This document preserves principles on both sides and will promote'the further development of friendly relations between the governments and peoples of the United States and Chin a Similarly, in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Assistant Secretary of.State John Holdridge asserted that !#The present wording evolved from ten months of intense negotiations in which fundamental principles were at stake on both sid es."

However, as in all previous negotiations with the PRC, U.S objectives dissolved, and the process led to simply resolving the extent of additional U.S. concessions. The PRC sought several interrelated objectives: an immediate oversight role in sale of arms to Taiwan, termination of such sales by a date certain, U.S pressure on Taipei to negotiate its Ilreintegration'l into mainland China, alteration of the strict provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, and an explicit U.S. affirmation of Peking's legal sovereignty over Taiwan. The U.S. entered the negotiations with the principal objective of modifying PRC demands sufficiently to quiet Peking's threat to downgrade relations with Washington, mounting since the Reagan inauguration. Consequently, on every p oint they sought the PRC gained either explicit, implicit, or deferred concessions from Washington. On the other hand, U.S. negotiators claimed that Peking's retreat from some of its original bargaining posi tions constituted PRC Ilconcessions.

A review of these issues reveals that, however adroitly the language of the eventual CommuniNe was manipulated, Peking made major gains of whic,h President Reagan himself was perhaps not sufficiently aware. This was evidenced by the President's pecu liar t elephone call to Dan Rather at CBS News denying that the agreement had seriously altered the status guo There has been no retreat by me. We will continue to arm Taiwan. We have a moral obligation to Taiwan. I am concerned about what the reports will do to our international relations. The Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese p-eople, on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, to resolve, we will not interfere in this matter or prejudice the free choice of, or put pressure on, the people of Taiwan in this ma t ter.2 Washington Times, August 18, 1982. 4 On numerous occasions in private conversations with conserva tives, the President has continued to deny adamantly that the Communi& constituted retreat from his previous position on Taiwan. Only by severely strai ning the meaning of the language and context of the agreement, hqwever, can it be construed that the U.S. did not retreat significantly on some fundamental issues.

Greater care must be exercised in future discussions with Peking.

PEKING'S MEDIATING ROLE I N ARMS SALES The specific language of the Taiwan Relations Act makes no provision for the PRC's having a role in the determination of arms sales to Taiwan. The language of the act [Section 3(b reads as follows The United States will make available to Taiw a n such defense articles and defense services in such a quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability and) the Presi dent and the Congress shall determine the nature and quantity of such defense articles and services based solely upon their judgement of the needs of Taiwan, in accordance with procedures established by law.

Moreover, throughout the legislative history of the passage of that act, Members of Congress made clear that consulting Peking about such matters would be totally inappropriate. None theless, the record of the past two years clearly indicates that rather than consulting Congress as provided by the law, the U.S.

State Department in fact consulted Peking. No reasonable review of the record ca n overlook that, each time the U.S. appeared on the verge of selling arms long promised to Taipei, Peking raised protests, which led to additional delays in concluding the arms sales. Then two days after the CommuniquC was issued, the U.S formally announc e d the sale of 60 F-5E fighters (worth $240 million) to Taiwan. Nonetheless, Secretary.Holdridge ironically testified that the ComuniquQ which promised to reduce arms sales should not be read to imply that we have agreed to engage in prior consultations wi th Beijing on arms sales to Taiwan."

Secretary Holdridge had just concluded ten months of negotiations with the PRC precisely on such arms sales. The U.S. should refuse to allow the subject to be placed on the agenda for discus sions between PRC and U.S. a uthorities, as such an action in effect would include the PRC in the U.S.-Taiwan arms sales process.

TERMINATION OF ARMS SALES AND PEKING' s IIPEACEFUL INTENTIONSII From the beginning of the Reagan Administration, the PRC was determined to force the U.S. to abandon its military support for Taiwan. Even Secretary Haig's efforts in June 1981, when he offered military equipment to the PRC, failed to quell Peking's demands that arms sales to Taiwan end In fact, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan fell from 800 million under Carter in 1979 to only 225 million under Reagan in 19

81. But by its singleminded 5 demand that all sales end, the PRC eventually succeeded in extract- ing point 6 of the Communiqug from the U.S Having in mind the foregoing statements of both sides, the United States Government states that it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years si n ce the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, and that it intends to reduce gradually its sales of arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution. In so stating the United States acknowledges China' s consistent position regarding the thorough settlement of this issue.

The heart of the Communiqug resides in this provision. To again quote Secretary Holdridge, the U.S. Ifdid not agree to set a date certain for ending arms sales to Taiwan." At the same t ime Peking promised in the Ilforegoing statement alluded to in point 6 above, that it is a llfundamental policy [of the PRC] to strive for a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question point 4 of the ~ommuniquC).3 In the first place, even if no agreement exi sted on a termi nation date, the PRC extracted a pledge from the U.S. to freeze Taiwan forces at existing levels, an unprecedented U.S. agreement.

The New York Times editorialized on its obvious implication The practical significance of the American pledge should not be minimized The limit on qualitative improvement means the equipment Taiwan gets from the United States will be increasingly obsolete. Should Peking ever change its mind about a peaceful resolution Taiwan's ability to defend itself directly, o r even to negotiate liberal terms of autonomy directly within a unified China, would be im~aired The second point to note is that the PRC has already inter preted "final resolutionll of this issue to mean, in the words of their foreign ministry spokesman, that U.S. arms sales Ilmust be completely terminated over a period of time." Thus, the U.S. agreed to ambiguous language that indubitably will limit its latitude of action in future arms sales to Taiwan. In order to verify American adherence to the langua ge of this provision, the It should also be noted that the U.S. interpretations of. the key words fundamental policy" differ from Peking's Chinese term fundamental policy" the Chinese text actually translates to "major policy" or only "guideline.

New York Times, August 17, 1982 Rather than 6 PRC has already demanded detailed confidential information on precisely the character and quantity of all arms previously supplied to Taiwan. Of some immediate military value, the informa- tion could then become a "ben chmarkn for judging future reductions in sales.

Finally, Peking denies making any substantive concessions to extract Washington's unilateral disarmament of Taipei and has insisted since that no linkage exists between arms sales to Taiwan and a peaceful met hod of resolving the Peking-Taipei conflict. On the day of the CommuniquC, the official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party boldly stated in an editorial The United States has no right to demand that China undertake any obligation as to t he methods it chooses in solving the Taiwan problem, nor should the United States put forth as a prerequisite condition for the cessation of arms sales to Taiwan that China commit itself to not solving the Taiwan problem by any means other than a peaceful one 5 Similarly three days later the official PRC news agency Xinhua stated Here, it should be pointed out once again that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and China's efforts for peaceful resolu tion of the Taiwan issue are two separate questions of an entirely different nature 11 6 PEACEFUL RESOLUTION" FOR TAIWAN AND PEKING'S INTERNAL AFFAIRS In his official report to the XIIth Communist Party Congress Chairman Hu Yaobang reiterated that the Taiwan question is an internal Chinese affair and thus arms sales mean that the U.S. is treating Taiwan as an independent political entity I The report reads in part, as follows As the Chinese Government has repeatedly stated, these are acts of infringement on China's sovereignty and of interference in ChinaIs.interna1 affai rs. Not long ago, after nearly a year of talks, the Chinese and U.S.

Governments issued a joint communique providing for a step-by-step solution of the question of U.S. arms s'ales to Taiwan, leading to a final thorough settlement.

We hope that these provisions will be strictly observed.

Sino-U.S. relations can continue to develop soundly only if the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty Renmim Ribao editorial, Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS August 17. 1982.

Xii hua, August 20, 1982; FBISdugust 23, 1982, p. B1. 7 and territorial integrity and non-interference in each other's internal affairs are truly adhered to Unfortunately the plain language in the Communiquk provides American acquiescence to the Chinese inter p retation of the issue as an internal affair. Every allusion in the CommuniquG to the term "peaceful resolutionit derives from the PRC s position linking such a "peaceful" resolution of the PRC-Taiwan conflict to Peking's internal solution of the problem. T hus, in paragraphs 4 and 5, references appear three times to Peking's "fundamental policy" of a peaceful solution. But each of these references relates to "peaceful reunification1' of the PRC and Taiwan under either the Message.to Compatriots in Taiwan is s ued by the PRC on January 1, 1979, or the Nine Point Proposal made by the PRC on September 30, 1981 This point was reinforced by the PRC Ambassador to Washing- ton Chai Zemin in an interview on CBS News and later reprinted in Peking. He referred to the "p e aceful settlement" under the 1979 and 1981 proposals and then said, "However, we are not to make any commitment to any country on the peaceful settlement of the Taiwan problem. internal affair problem We consider the Taiwan problem to be China's It is up t o us to decide how to solve this In other words, Peking's peaceful policy consists only of a willingness to accept "peacefully" a surrender of Taiwan's sover eignty. Thus, U.S. enthusiasm for a so-called fundamental policy of peace obviously will be inter p reted in Peking as support from Washington for their demands concerning Taiwan. even explicitly states that The U.S. Government understands and appreciates the Chinese policy of striving for a peaceful resolu tion of the Taiwan question as indicated in Ch i na's Message to Compatriots and the Nine Point proposal The CommuniquG Although construed as a new situation according to Holdridge, the breakthrough for the agreement consisted of nothing more than a reaffirmation of Peking's previous proposals. Moreover while embracing Peking's proposals without qualification, the U.S. completely ignored Taipei's proposals A speech by Premier Sun Yun-hsuan on June 28, 1982, proclaimed Taiwan's three condi- tions for reunification The goal of the Principle of National- is m is a government of the people. The goal of the Principle of I Hu Yaobang's Report to XIIth Party Congress. Xinhua, September 7, 1982; FBIS September 8, 1982, p. K19 The China Daily, 2, Peking, People's Republic of China, August 27, 1981 p 1. '8 People's R ights is a government by the people, and the goal of the Principle of the People's Livelihood is a government for the people.Il In a separate statement, the Premier indicated that Ifif the political, economic, social, and cultural gap between the China ma i nland and Free China continues to narrow, the conditions for peaceful reunification can gradually mature.Iig President Reagan seemed in support when he stated on the day the CommuniquC was issued IlWe will not interfere in this matter the Taiwan question] or prejudice the free choice of, or put pressure on, the people of Taiwan in this matter." But the actions of his Administration speak louder reunification proposals, the U.S. has promised to end arms sales to Taiwan and may even initiate a military sales program to the PRC Beyond embracing Peking's The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Separation of Powers has launched a formal inquiry into the possibility that the CommuniquC violated the authority of Congress. For again, as when President Carter broke rel a tions with Taiwan without consult ing Congress and during the 1978 Christmas recess, the Reagan Administration has contravened the clear intentions of the Congress THE GROWING PRC MILITARY THREAT TO TAIWAN Peking's policies in the defense area cannot seri o usly challenge Soviet military forces in Asia. Nonetheless, the PRC has augmented significantly its military power, particularly in terms of new fighter aircraft a modest deterrent effect on the Soviets, its strengthened air power can pose a substantial m ilitary threat to Taiwan.

The August 17th Communiqu6 completely ignores the vital military needs of Taiwan. Rather than relating future military sales to Taiwan to the potential military threats to the island the CommuniquC pledges to downgrade, and presum ably end, military sales on the basis of Peking's peaceful rhetoric. Unfortunately as so many other nations have discovered, rhetoric can change daily, but military capabilities cannot. Thus, the security of a country, such as Taiwan, can only be adequate l y maintained if it can be defended against the most likely adversaries. An examina tion of the current military capabilities of the People's Republic of China, coupled with prospective force improvements, indicates that the plan to downgrade the military c apabilities of Taiwan will create a dangerously unstable situation. In fact, in order to maintain military balance in the region, and hence a stable environment for deterrence of war, the United States should supply Taiwan with a more advanced fighter, ei t her the F5G (sometimes While this buildup can only have Takashi Oka, Christian Science Monitor, August 10, 1982. 9 designated the F-20) or the F16/79.1 Present Chinese military developments threaten obsolescence for the current Taiwanese inventory of U.S. supplied aircraft.

While Taiwan's Air Force at the moment has a qualitative superior ity over most of the PRC combat aircraft sufficient to guarantee its security, it is not clear that this will continue to be the case. The PRC is acquiring at least three new aircraft that are significant1 more capable than its imitations of the Soviet MiG 15/17/19/21 yl These three aircraft, the F-8/12, A-5, H-8,12 alone pose a significant threat to Taiwan's increasingly outdated planes, for they will close the qualitati v e gap between the two air forces and the PRC's greater numbers will tip the balance in their favor. Moreover, other more advanced aircraft are being developed at research institutes on the mainland or possibly being purchased abroad. Should they be deploy ed, without a parallel deployment by Taiwan, the PRC would have total air supremacy over the Straits.

Thus, there is an overriding need to rearm Taiwan now. It takes, on average, at least two to four years, from the time of ordering, for a new aircraft to be delivered in significant numbers; then it takes another couple of years for an air force to become accustomed to the new aircraft and develop the tactics best suited to it THE BASIS OF PRC AIR STRENGTH Careful examination of the three new PRC aircraft r eveals how large the advances of the Chinese Communists really are. The least advanced is the A-5, a totally redesigned MiG-19 with tactical strike as its primary mission. It has new wings with 30 percent increase in surface area as well as side air intak es thus leaving the nose free for a new targeting radar randome.

This aircraft is generally considered to be underpowered with its two copies of the Soviet Tumansky R-9BF/R-9B-811 engine (the Chinese designation is Wopen 6A There are, however, reports that new engines might be provided by the Rolls Royce Spey, which lo For a detailed study of the military situation in the PRC and Taiwan, see Martin Lasater, The Security .of Taiwan: Unraveling the Dilemma (Washington D.C The Center for Strategic and Interna tional Studies, Georgetown University, 1982).

The MiG-21 (F-7) is currently being produced at a rate of 280-300 units l1 per annum.

There are numerous designations for PRC military aircraft, and they are Cf. Defense Foreign Affairs Daily, July 14, 1980. l2 constantly being updated.

Aircraft: A attack, fighter-bomber aircraft; F fighter, air superiority This paper employs those of Jane's All the World's aircraft; H bomber. 10 would afford significantly more thrust for its weight and size.

This, of course, would greatly increase the plane's capabilities by solving what were first thought to be serious design problems.

The A-5 is now being produced in significant numbers 500 having been built by mid-1981 at the main arsenal at Shenyang (see Table 1 for perf ormance characteristi~s The F-8/F-12 is the principal fighter in production for the People's Liberation Army Air Force.14 The F-12 is a PRC designed plane powered by two souped-up 20,000+ lb. thrust Rolls-Royce FtB-168 Spey engines (the same engine that p owers the Royal Air Force Buccaneer and the RAF F-4 Phantom aircraft). It is primarily a fighter and secondly a tactical strike aircraft It is believed to have the same, or slightly more advanced, radar fire control system and navigational aids as the A-

5. Consequently, it commands an advanced all weather day/night capability that has not previously bee,n available to the PRC.

The F-12 was based on the design concept of the MiG-23 Flogger. The Chinese have examined an Egyptian Flogger and apparently have incorporated many of its advanced features, with the exception of the swing wings (the PRC plane has delta wings).

The Spey engines give the F-12 a speed of Mach 2.

4. New electronic systems also are being developed for this and other aircraft.

New ECM pods have been sighted indicating other internal electronic improvements. The F-12 is believed to have been in full-scale prod uction since 198115 at the PRC's largest aircraft facility in Chengtu the capital of the southwestern province of Szechuan.16 There could be increasing numbers facing Taiwan in the very near future.

The twin-engined bomber, the H(Hong)-8, is supposedly si milar to a Backfire in configuration. There is little information available about this aircraft at the moment, except that it is likely to be a multi-role swing-wing bomber, with a prime role 13 14 15 16 Defense Foreign Affairs Daily, July 22, 1980 have g iven the A-5 a 25 percent increase in range and.much improved poor weather performance compared to the copy of the MiG-19.

There is some confusion concerning the designation of this aircraft.

Defense Foreign Affairs, Jane's, and Aviation Week Space Techno logy indicate that the F-12 is currently in production and that the F-8 is still under development IISS) says, however, that the F-8 is in production implying that it is the F-12 which is under development aircraft that is based on the MiG-23 which is cur rently being produced.

Hereafter, this MiG-23 type aircraft will be referred to as the F-12 These and other modifications The International Institute for Strategic Studies Whichever is the case, it is the Cf. in particular Defense Foreign Affairs Daily, Ap ril 22 1980; and J B. Linder and A. James Gregor, "Taiwan's Troubled Security Outlook,"

Strategic Review, Fall 1980, p. 53 Defense Foreign Affairs Daily, July 22, 1980.

Ibid. Cf. also Lasater, op. cit., p 62. 11 as an anti-shipping and precision, medium- range strike on military land targets.17 SUPPORTING PRC MILITARY STRENGTH The Chinese have not limited themselves to designing/produc ing new planes. They have also developed new weapons systems.

William Perry, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineer ing, visited China in late 1980 and said that he saw a complete disassembled IR (infrared) guided Sidewinder missile.18 A conven tional or nuclear tipped, radar guided stand-off missile with an estimated range of 50km has apparently been develope d .for the H-8.19 An infrared homing air-to-surface bomb has also been developed for the F-

12. These new systems give the PRC Air Force an accuracy and an all-weather capability they did not have five years ago-one that will eliminate the advantage Taiwan heretofore enjoyed.

As alarming as these developments are, there is no sign of their abating. The Spey engine plant at Xian, set ufoin 1976 is now, after some delay, producing 20 engines a month, enough for 240 planes a year. At that rate it would take o nly two years to exceed the,entire inventory of Taiwan's Air Force. Furthermore the Chinese are gaining full mastery of the new technology as 70 of their technicians and engineers went to England to be taught about the Spey. Rolls Royce also sent some of t heir experts to the PRC to train additional scientists. As an extension of this effort the Chinese Government has started to pump funds and additional expert personnel into the premier scientific research institution, the Institute of Aeronautical Design i n Peking. The PRC has also obtained U.S. technology through 400 U.S. export licenses and advanced French aeronautical technology through the purchase of the Super Frelon and the SA-365N Dauphin 2 heli copters. A plant is being constructed to build the lat t er in Northeast China. In addition, Marconi Avionics is to upgrade the electronics in the F-6 and F-7 in a 90 million contract. Marconi is also competing for a $500 million contract for added avionics systems Thus it appears that, with the initial breakth r ough of signing the Spey contract in December 1975, the stagnation of Chinese aircraft production and design ended In view of the obvious Chinese needs in the field of new advanced aircraft these production and design efforts will continue to escalate. l7 Most of this information is drawn from Defense Foreign Affairs Daily Julv 22. 1980 l8 l9 2o 21 Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1981-1982, p. 32, and Defense Foreign Affairs Daily, August 1, 1980.

Defense Foreign Affairs Daily, August 1, 1980.

Ibid., and Jane's op. cit p. 32 Defense Foreign Affairs Daily, July 9 and 14, 1980. 12 Examples of this threat are the"F-8A and the F-8B, both of which are currently being produced by the Chinese aircraft industry.

The latter aircraft is a swinq-wing atta ck plane and the former is a delta-wing interceptor.2 RELATIVE STRENGTH: PRC AND TAIWAN The qualitative threat posed to Taiwan by the F-12, A-5, and H-8 is obvious it casts serious doubt on the future security of Taiwan. The PRC has over 6,000 combat airc raft to Taiwan's 484, a 12 to 1 ratio and 528,000 air force personnel to 77,000, giving the PRC an advantage of 6.8:l in this category.23 Along with the existing numerical advantages The PRC's current inventory should not be underestimated.

Though the old MiG-l9/21s are of limited range and growth poten tial, they have impressive maneuverability and dogfight potential.

The MiG-19 is reported by Jane's All the World's Aircraft to outmaneuver all aircraft in the Asian theater with the exception of the F-

86 . The MiG-19 (F-6) reportedly can outclimb the F-104 a plane renowned for its rate of climb. The U.S. Air Force uses the F-5E to simulate MiG-21 performance characteristics when it practices air-to-air combat. The additional F-5E aircraft being supplied t o Taiwan will do nothing to redress the growing qualita tive imbalance between the two Chinese Air Forces.

As is evident from the data assembled in Table 1, all of the advanced Chinese aircraft, the A-5 F-7 (MiG-21), and F-12 (MiG-23 possess capabilities e qual or superior to those of the F-5E, the mainstay of the Taiwan Air Force. The PRC planes in general are faster, have a greater thrust-to-weight ratio and approxi mately equal or better radar fits and rates of climb.

Recent reports claim that the PRC ha s contacted France concerning the procurement and possible production in China of large numbers of Mirage 2000 jet fighters. This is the most modern plane currently produced by France and is considered to be on rough parity with the F-16A quantum leap for the PRC in terms of airframe design, power-plant and avionics inventory. The 2000 would provide the PRC with an all-weather day/night fighter that is equipped with advanced, radar guided medium range air-to-air missiles. Since Taiwan lacks an equiva lent s ystem or the potential for developing one, its air force would thus be at the mercy of the PRC The Mirage 2000 would be a It .would easily outperform any aircraft in the Taiwan 22 23 Aviation Week Space Technology, June 15, 1981 IISS, The Military Balance 1982-1983, London, 19

82. PRC figures include combat aircraft and oersonnel assiened to the Naw.ram m a d rl E 0 0 U I 0 VI m z W VI a3 Q rl 0 U W 0 0 N VI 0, P d bo bo m N 0 U e d rl rl w R k a k (d U rl U m rl k a U U (d r (d m 5 VI m d E U W a u U r rl (d k a v. rl W %I m 7 0 rl k 2 B k 0 %I U rl U rl r a U c d m m 5 s a a U W k a a n ti g m rl U (d c) rl W rl c) a a a m 5 m m U rl d a d U m .r El i5 d G rd c (d c I P rl 0 0 0 m 0 m am '2 d C m 5 VI d d Ea W 0 0 d U 2 m a3 0 U W 0 0 d \\ o 0 m cv I c3 rl E m N c m 0 5 8 U (d U W 0 0 VI d U (d 0 m g rl U U a 0 U C rl (d U k a a ax xa a UdN a) 3 0 U W 0 0 0 VI 0 e ma P d 0 0 U m 0 m Ea W 0 0 0 0 5 a3 N d m o 5 m I- d m U a3 I O 0 cv c m a a3 I Ea VI 0 0 o cv 0 I h 5 g 435 drl o E -45 mxard 0 maao VI e ~4 U W 0 0 d VI 0 P d bo I e N 0 m bo d c m 5 U d Fr E mi dl4 P d VI N b 0 N m z W 0 0 d N 0, d N I 2 E W 0 0 0 VI baa k 524 ar mu m 5 VI I m a U m d I45 a 5 EEZ dab maa r sm a75EuO awrlo E urlpk~u OkHkH Z am m a d cv E a0 0 0s: mu h mrl a 3a w 5 U d Ba W 0 0 \\o U 0 UdNmU Fr 8 U W 0 0 0 m VI m d N c E k m 0 1 u W d W 3 c3 B H B w z 2 4 m 9 d 8 H W 3 14 With the possible acquisition of Mirage 2000s and the other planes now being designed and produced in the PRC, Peking would have an overwhelming numerical and tec hnological advantage over the Taiwan Air Force and its increasingly obsolescent F-5A/Es.

It would no longer be prohibitively costly for the PRC to destroy the Taiwan Air Force and gain air superiority over the island itself and the surrounding seas airspac e, especially the seas and the Straits, the PRC will gain an increased capability to either invade the island or to imple ment an effective naval blockade An invasion might be too costly a manner to destroy Taiwan as an independent entity, but the PRC sti l l refuses to rule it out. A blockade would cripple the economy and bring Taiwan to its knees forced to eventually surrender, failing significant outside military assistance Once the Taiwanese'lose the ability to dominate their own Then Taipei would be The s e actions are not so remote as they might seem. In recent years, PRC leadership has been chronically unstable. It is conceivable that the leadership could change again or that domestic political pressure could lead to vigorous.pursuit of the repeatedly av o wed goal of reintegration of the island with the mainland. The military would be eager to redeem itself after the recent humilia tion in Vietnam and to try out new equipment. By 1984/85, it is estimated the PRC will have 700+ A-5 attack.aircraft, several hundred F-12 fighter aircraft and perhaps some Mirage 2000s as well as the thousands of aircraft that they already possess addition, the PRC will have advanced air-to-air missiles AAMs and a superb all-weather capability, which Taiwan will lack.

Given this , the Taiwan Air Force would probably last less than two weeks under an intensive attack by the PRC.24 Only with the prospective acquisition of an advanced fighter such as the F-5G, F-16/79, or even the F-16A can Taiwan hope to maintain a military balance in the area. By 1984-1986, Taiwan will have a maximum of 250 to 260 F-5E aircraft; all other aircraft such as the F-104, F-5A, and the F-100 will likely be obsolete.

Taiwan would need the F-16A or possibly the F-16/79 to guarantee its security as both pla nes constitute advanced, all-weather fighter fitted with advanced AAMs. Even with the F-5G, ,Taiwan might be at a slight disadvantage vis-a-vis such a plane as the Mirage 20

00. However, with the superior training of its pilots Taiwan could probably disco urage PRC attack. The F-16A/F-16/79 and the F-5G could be ready for Taiwan by late 1984 or early 1985 at least 160 to 200 would be needed restore military balance and substantially boost the morale of Taiwan In I Even fewer would dramatically 24 Cf. estim ate given by Admiral Edwin K. Snyder before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February 1979, Taiwan Hearings, p. 586. 15 Objections to the sale of these planes have centered on their range as posing a threat to the PRC.

All the World's Aircraft 1981-1982, when both planes are mng two AAMS and at least two bombs, the present F-5E has an equal or greater range than the F-16/

79. Thus no new threat would be posed to the PRC in terms of increased ability to strike further in land. The F-16/79 would offer more to Taiwan's security than the F-5G in its ability to patrol and interdict the sea lanes and the Straits, a prime U.S. concern. With it, Taiwan could use its superior piloting capabilities to better advantage, whereas the F-5G would be easier for Taiwan to maintain because of extensive experience with the F-5E. However, the F-16/79 would not in any way be beyond Taiwanese operational capability According to Jane's Because the F-16/79 is a better plane, some degree of addi t ional threat to the PRC would exist, but certainly not enough to raise significantly Taiwan's offensive capability. If the objec tive is to eliminate any possible threat that Taiwan poses to the PRC, the answer is quite simple-disarm Taipei. Unfortunately this is the policy implicit in the August 17 Communiqu6.

But .if the aim is to safeguard the security of Taiwan, the U.S. should provide Taipei with an advanced fighter. The F-l6/79/A is the best plane. The F-5G cannot be adequately equipped as an all-weather intercepter and retain its combat maneuverability.

The F-16/79 has this potential, and the F-16A is already so fitted. The F-5G will be outdated sooner than the F-16/79, as the latter is inherently more advanced and has more room for growth. The cost s of the F-16/79 and the F-5G are comparable and both planes could be available at approximately the same time.

Even if the F-16/79 or the F-5G were construed as a threat to the PRC, Taiwan is threatened far more by the PRC cannot even consider an invasio n of the PRC; not only would it be doomed to military defeat, but such an action would guarantee the end of its political support from other nations. Consequently the only reason for denying Taiwan an advanced fighter aircraft is that the PRC opposes the sales for primarily political reasons Taiwan CONCLUSION As Ronald Reagan campaigned for president in 1980, he promised to restore balance and integrity to U.S. relations with Taiwan.

Specifically he pledged that, unlike the Carter Administration he "would not impose restrictions which are not required by the Taiwan Relations Act and which contravene its spirit and purpose."

Moreover, he stated that, among the provisions of that act, the most important spells out our policy of providing defensive weapons to Taiwan Finally candidate Reagan criticized Carter for making "concessions that were not necessary and not in our national interest 5 25 Ronald Reagan Campaign Statement on U.S. Policy Toward Asia and the Pacific Los Angeles, California, August 25, 1980 1 6 Unfortunately President Reagan, like his three predecessors in the.White House, has continued to pursue a policy of successive concessions to Peking at the expense of the future security and integrity of Taiwan. The August 17th CommuniquC made more drast i c concessions to the PRC than had any previous agreement. By conceding that Taiwan is an Ilinternal problemi1 of China, the U.S has undermined morale in Taiwan and compromised its future legal status. By specifically negotiating with the PRC concerning Ta i wan, the U.S. has in fact, conceded to the PRC oversight authority of this aspect of U.S.-Taiwan relations. By using the same argument (that arms sales violate Peking's sovereignty over internal affairs), future dealings with Taiwan in trade, tourism inve stment, social and cultural relations can similarly be chal lenged by Peking.

Numerous U.S. concessions to Peking over the last decade have neither satisfied the PRC demands concerning Taiwan, nor significantly affected their conduct of foreign policy. The U.S has misinterpreted a serious spiit between the PRC and the Soviet Union as only a minor dispute that could end abruptly without constant U.S. cultivation of Peking. The PRC has effectively played upon these American fears of a Sino-Soviet rapprocheme nt and American hopes for a peaceful PRC-Taiwan rapprochement as well. But Taiwan, like other noncommunist countries in Asia distrusts the PRC on the basis of bitter historical experience.

Before giving support to implicit PRC pledges to resolve disputes p eacefully the U.S. should make the same demand of Peking that the PRC made recently of Moscow In his official report to the XIIth Party Congress, Hu Yaobang, said Soviet "deeds, rather than words, are important In the 19'51 Agreement on Peaceful Liberatio n of Tibet Peking promised that "The central authorities also will not alter the established status, function, and powers of the Dalai Lama."

The Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet and has never returned. Most recently the PRC has not even been able to assuage t he suspicions of the Chinese in Hong Kong that prospective Peking sovereignty would not lead to disaster It should be noted as well that even the PRC denies any explicit connection between pursuing a peaceful policy toward Taiwan and resolving its differe nces with Taipei. This is the fatal flaw of the August 17th Communiqu

6. Thus, the U.S. should cease its tacit support of any "peaceful" proposals from Peking until such time as the PRC actually demonstrates genuine tolerance for diversity within the domai n it currently governs. If the PRC refuses to concede genuine regional autonomy to areas such as Tibet that- they now control, should the U.S. give credence to its vague promises for Taiwan or Hong Kong its military buildup, any reduction of arms sales to Taipei would be both inappropriate and dangerously destabilizing. Maintaining a reasonable military balance over the Taiwan Straits, on the other hand, has effectively deterred war between the two Chinas for the last three decades Given the PRC's politica l hostility to Taiwan coupled with 17 In view of the continued reliability of Taiwan as an authentic I ally of the U.S. and the growing potential PRC military threat to Taiwan, the Reagan Administration should be upgrading, rather than downgrading, the sop h istication of equipment being sold to Taiwan. Specifically, the U.S. should sell a more advanced all-weather fighter to Taiwan to counter the new generation of aircraft being deployed by Peking. Though the 'August Communiqu6 unfortunately complicates such an action, the U.S. should revert to sound military and political principles and provide the equip ment necessary to ensure the continued survival of Taiwan.

Failure to do so can only lead to the eventual destruction of one of America's oldest and closest allies in the postwar era Jeffrey B. Gayner Counselor on International Affairs The author wishes to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Greerson McMullen Research Assistant at the Heritage Foundation.

APPENDIX I United States Arms Sales to Taiwan Joint Cbmmunique of the United States and the People 3 Republic of China.

August 17,1982 1. In the Joint Communique on the Es tablish ment of Diplomatic Relations on Jan uary 1. 1979, issued by the Government of the United States of America and the Gov ernment of the People's Republic of China the United States of America recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as th e sole legal government of China, and it acknowledged the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. Within that con text, the two sides agreed that the people of the United States would continue to main tain cultural, commer c ial, and other unofi cial relations with the people of Taiwan. On this bajis, relations between the United States and China were normalized 2. The question of United States arms sales to Taiwan was not settled in the course of negotiations between the two countries on establishing diplomatic rela tions. The two sides held differing positions and the Chinese side stated that it would raise the issue again following normaliza tion. Recognizing that this issue would seri ously hamper the development of United States-China relations, they have held fur ther discussions on it, during and since the meetings between .President Ronald Reagm and Premier Wao Ziyang and between Sec retary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr.. and Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Huang Hua in October, 1981 3. Respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interfer ence in each other's internal affairs consti tute the fundamental principles guiding United States-China relations. These princi ples were confirmed in the Shanghai Com munique of February 28, 1972, and reaf fvmed in the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations which came into effect on January 1, 1979.

Both sides emphatically state that these principles continue to govern all aspects of their relations 4. The Chinese government reiterates that the question of Taiwan is China's inter nal affair. The Message to Compatriots in Taiwan issued by China on January 1, 1979 promulgated a fimdamental policy of striving for peaceful reunification of the Motherland.

The Nine-Point Proposal put forward by China on September 30,1981, represented a further major effcrt under this fundamental policy to strive for a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question 5. The United States Government at taches great importance to its relations with China, and reiterates that it has no inten tion of infringing on Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or interfering in China's internal affairs, or pursing a policy of 'Two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan." Th e United States Government understands and appreciates the Chinese policy of striving for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question as indicated in China's Message to Compatriots in Taiwan issued on January 1,1979, and the Nine-Point Propos al put forwa rd by China on September 30 19

81. The new situation which has emerged with regard to the Taiwan question also provides favorable conditions for the settle ment of United States-China differences over the question of United States arms sales to Taiwan 6. H aving in mind the foregoing state ments of both sides, the United States Gov ernment states that it does not seek to C out a long-term policy of arms sates to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quan titative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of dip lomatic relations between the United States and China, and that it intends to reduce gradually its sales or arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resoluti o n. In so stating, the United States acknowledges China's consistent position regarding the thor ough settlement of this issue 7. In order to bring about, over a period of time, a hal settlement of the question of United States arms sales to Taiwan, which i s an issue rooted in history, the two govern ments will make every effort to adopt measures and create conditions conducive to the thorough settlement of this issue 8. The development of United States China relations is not only in the interests of the tw o peoples but also conducive to peace and stability in the world. The two sides are determined, on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, to strengthen their ties in the economic, cultural, educa tional, scientific, technological and other fields an d make strong, joint efforts for the continued development of relations be tween the governments and peoples of the United States and China.

9. In order to bring about the healthy development of United StatesChina rela tions, maintain world peace and oppo se ag gression and expansion, the two govern ments realTim the principles agreed on by the two sides in the Shanghai Communique and the Joint Communique on the Estab lishment of Diplomatic Relations. The two sides will maintain contact and hold appro pria t e consultations on bilateral and inter national issues of common interest United States Arms Sales to Taiwan Statement the President August ll, 1982 The U.S.-China joint communique issued today embodies a mutually satisfactory means of dealing with the hi storical ques tion of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. This docu ment prekrves prihciples on both sides and will promote the further development of friendly relations between the governments and peoples of the United States and China.

It will also contribute to the further reduc tion of tensions and to lasting peace in the Ask/ Pacific region.

Building a strong id lasting relationship with China has been. an important foreign policy goal of four consecutive American administrations. Such a relationship is vital to our .tong-term national security interests and contributes to stability in East Asia. It is in the national interest of the United States that this important strategic relationship be advanced. This communique will make that possible, consistent with ' our obligations to the people of Taiwan.

In working toward this successful out come we have paid particular attention to the needs and interests of the people of Taiwan. My longstanding personal friend ship and deep concern for their well-being is steadfas t and unchanged. I am committed to maintaining the full range of contacts between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwm-cultural, corn mercial. and people-to-people contacts which are compatible with our unoficial re lationship. Such con tacts will continue to grow and prosper and will be conducted with the dignity and honor befitting old friends I.

Regarding future U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, our policy, set forth clearly in the communique. is fully consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act . Arms sales will con tinue in accordance with the act and with the full expectation that the approach of the Chinese Covernment to the resolution of the Taiwan issue will continue to be peaceful. We attach. great significance to the Chinese statement in t he communique regarding China's "fundamenta" policy and it is clear from our statements that our future actions will be conducted with this peaceful policy fully in mind. The position of the United States Covemment has always been clear and consistent in this regard.

The Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people, on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, to resolve. We will not interfere m this matter or prejudice the free choice of or put pressure on, the people of Taiwan in this matter. At the same ti me, we have an abiding interest and concern that any reso lution be peaceful. I shall never waver from this fundamental position.

I am proud, as &I American, at the great progress that has been made by the people on Taiwan over the past three decades, and of the American contribution to that proc ess. I have full faith in the continuation of that process. My administration, acting through appropriate channels, will continue strongly to foster that development and to contribute to a strong and healthy inve st ment climate, thereby enhancing the well being of the people of Taiwan


Jeffrey B.

Senior Associate Fellow

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