It is the policy of the United States to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.
The military factor is the one factor in cross strait relations that involves an outside power. The Chinese on both sides of the Strait agree that solving the political unification/independence issue should be accomplished by themselves without interference or even participation from any outside country, but whether anyone likes it or not, the United States is deeply involved in the military aspect of cross strait relations and Taiwan agrees. United States policy is not concerned about the political or economic outcome of negotiations between the two sides. The only demand made by the US is that the final outcome must be accomplished peacefully. Of course the United States would prefer an outcome that helps to solve human rights, trade, and proliferation issues, but it is prepared to live with any peaceful solution arrived at between the two sides.
Hundreds of books, monographs and articles have been written about the security and militaries of China and Taiwan. Most in English that focus on China are about a potential confrontation with the United States or are general, and often contain only a chapter about the cross strait problem.274 A number of works narrow the scope to the cross strait military confrontation.275
Many official documents have been prepared by the governments of each side about the military factor from their own perspective, and those writings are usually limited to the cross strait military balance, invasion scenarios or military to military relationships. Most military analyses are not placed in the economic or political context. Much analysis of the political factor does not include military considerations and much economic analysis avoids both military and political elements. Single factor analyses circulated and discussed within a government bureaucracy (military, political or economic) generally leads to parochial interests and tunnel- vision positions that in turn lead to intragovernmental debate. This means that negotiations between different governments are often hampered by the internal debate of each of the participants. In some cases that can be dangerous if one part of the bureaucracy holds an inordinate amount of power and can prevail in the debate. It leads to the potential for serious miscalculations that, in the case of the military factor, when not mitigated by economic or political concerns, could lead to war.276
Successful military planners, at least from the time of Sun Tzu (approximately 5thCentury B.C.), have considered three things before going into battle: enemy, weather and terrain. For a protracted war a fourth key element is added: comprehensive military strength or the ability to sustain a war over a period of time based on population strength, total industrial capacity, national will, etc. Since the terrain does not change in the Taiwan Strait and the weather constantly changes, they will not be considered in this study except as described in the Geography section of Chapter One. This chapter on the military factor will focus on the “enemy” element from the perspective of each of the three participants. Within that category are two critical subdivisions: capability and intent. But first I will describe some external events not related to the Taiwan Strait issue, but have had an influence on the thinking. I will also describe the history of the cross strait confrontation to lay a foundation and to show the degree of U.S. involvement.
The Tiananmen tragedy was viewed on television screens all over the world. Even though Communist leaders, and most Chinese citizens, believe they did the right thing to maintain stability and prevent China from going into a period of chaos, most world citizens perceived a clear example of human rights abuse. The rest of the world saw an army using tanks to run over its own students. Many nations compared the spectacle to similar confrontations in Korea and Japan where large student demonstrations have been routinely subdued with pepper spray or water cannons.
The impact on the Taiwan Strait issue is indirect. Because of the psychological impact on other nations of the world, it meant Taiwan could claim a little more credibility in their resistance to Chinese rule. Tiananmen added to their arguments about why they should become independent. The same psychological impact strengthened those in the United States who were concerned about support for Taiwan. It added to the ability of those who were determined to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons. Supporting Taiwan was less of a political issue in the United States than it was before Tiananmen. It is a legacy that China will not be able to shed for some time.
The end of the Cold War also had a psychological influence, but in a different direction so it mitigated Tiananmen to a certain extent. The end of the Cold War ended the ability of defense specialists who based part of their rationale for supporting Taiwan on stemming the tide of international Communism. It also, at first, seemed to reduce the fear of strong Soviet support to a Chinese military action against the United States.
On the other hand, the end of the Cold War has seen a new fear develop. As Russia reduces its holdings of weapons systems and converts defense to civilian industries, much excess equipment (airplanes and ships) is made available for sale to China. Further, many nuclear and missile scientists who might otherwise become unemployed could conceivably find work in China. All of this could speed up the pace of “catching up with the United States” in military weapons capabilities. In actuality, so far this has not occurred. The few sales that have taken place do not significantly increase the Chinese capability against the United States. The sale of SU-27 fighter planes and Sovremenny class destroyers though did make China significantly stronger in the Taiwan Strait when compared only to Taiwan. That in turn enhances the argument that the U.S. must come to the aid of Taiwan.
The Gulf War was a major shock to Chinese military leaders. The use of very high technology weapons allowed allied forces to overcome the Iraqi military in a very short time and with very few casualties. Many of the large weapons (air defense missiles and tanks) used by the Iraqi military were Chinese-made and were quickly neutralized. The Chinese got a view of how their own weapons might stand up to modern advanced American weapons systems. Military leaders began an immediate push to increase the pace of their own military modernization efforts and to delay any early confrontation with the U.S.Throughout the 1990s Chinese military planners worked to develop new strategies to cope using asymmetrical warfare. They also focused on finding weaknesses in the U.S. military system that might allow them to prevail in the relatively narrow area of the Taiwan Strait. The Gulf War constantly reminded them that they could not go too far in their confrontation against Taiwan and dampened even the military exercises and missile tests of 1995-1996 (described below). When the two American aircraft carriers showed up they were reminded by the Gulf War of the major gap in military capability.
South Korea was Taiwan’s strongest military ally under the banner of anti-Communism during the Cold War. Not only were there strong economic ties, there were strong military ties. When South Korea made the move to recognize China and sever the formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan it was a serious blow to Taiwan. This was the signal that the world was changing and that economic relationships had become more important to national interests than political or perhaps even military interests.
Within Taiwan this change provided critics of the Kuomintang with the signal that they would have to change their entire strategy for the future. It meant reducing the notion of political confrontation and increasing the economic relationship even more. It ended all hopes for the very senior conservative KMT leaders who were attempting to control the pace and scope of trade and investment into China.
In July 1993 the U.S. Senate held hearings and introduced resolutions (Senate Resolutions 117 and 124) that expressed "the sense of the Senate that the Olympics in the year 2000 should not be held in Beijing or elsewhere in the People's Republic of China." The House of Representatives passed an identical resolution (House Resolution 188) (passed 287-99) that expressed the same sense of the house. In both cases the opposition from the U.S. perspective was based on China's human rights violations. From the Chinese perspective it was viewed as an effort to keep China weak in the world community. Even as late as March 21, 2001 the U.S. Congress was still introducing bills in the House and Senate (Senate Concurrent Resolution 27 and House Concurrent Resolution that took aim at China's human rights record and tried to prevent the 2008 Olympics from being held in China.
Chinese leaders and citizens were extremely upset about this action and it contributed greatly to general anti-American feelings. At the least it provided more ammunition to those Chinese leaders who insisted on taking a hard line against the Americans in the later confrontations over the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Kosovo and the EP-3 reconnaissance plane incident.
One event that had a profound impact on cross strait relations, greater than expected by anyone in Taiwan or the U.S., was the visit of Taiwan’s President Lee Tenghui to his alma mater, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York from June 8 to 11, 1995.277 The entire episode was much more complicated than seems on the surface.
The Lee visit was an excellent example of a behavior that was interpreted by China as action that would lead to splitting China and Taiwan politically. Although not explicit in the three U.S.-- China communiqués, visits by senior leaders in the Taiwan government had been avoided since diplomatic recognition in 1979. Visas were not issued. Visits by US senior executive branch leaders to Taiwan were also not allowed during that period.
President Lee had graduated from Cornell University with a Ph.D. in agricultural economics in 1979. He was invited to give a commencement speech in May 1995. At first he was turned down by the U.S. State Department under President Clinton. At the time pressures to give him a visa came from the U.S. Congress where there was a strong anti-Chinese and pro-Taiwan bias. That basic conflict between the executive and legislative branches continues today. Several events contributed to the congressional vote. In March of 1992 President Bush had vetoed a vote by Congress to deny Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to China because of human rights abuses.278 He also barely, by eight votes, prevented a congressional override of the vote. In May 1994, President Lee, transiting the U.S. from Latin America, landed in Honolulu, Hawaii and was not allowed to leave his airplane. He was forced to sleep overnight on the plane and this angered Congress.
The next year in March the State Department issued a visa to Gerry Adams, a promoter of terrorism and the leader of the Provisional Wing of the Irish Republican Party. The contrast was stark. The executive branch had allowed a known terrorist, over British objections, to enter the U.S. on multiple occasions to raise funds. But they had refused entry to the leader of a new Asian democracy.
On March 9, 1995 the visa for President Lee to visit Cornell was denied and that was a final straw for congress. They passed a resolution in both houses to issue Lee a visa. The resolution was 396 to 0 (May 2, 1995) in the House and 91 to 1 (May 9, 1995) in the Senate. It was not a bipartisan issue, but it was an issue between the executive and legislative branches of government, and it was a strong indication of congressional sentiment about Taiwan.
The State Department had complicated the issue by formally assuring China on several occasions that a visa would not be issued. The congressional vote forced the President to act and on May 22, 1995 it was announced that President Lee would be issued a visa to visit his alma mater. The decision had major repercussions.
The visa decision undercut the credibility of the U.S. State Department in dealing with China. It also reduced the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the Chinese Government and ultimately increased the voice of the hardliners who were in favor of more active military pressure on Taiwan. The hardliners were able to prevail in the internal debate that ultimately resulted in the missile exercises of 1995/1996.
The first reaction of the Chinese was to cancel all US-China military exchange visits. China also used this occasion, partially based on pressures from senior PLA officers, to reduce bilateral cooperative discussions on arms control topics.
In the week after the Lee speech the Chinese Ambassador to Washington was recalled to China and the approval of the new Ambassador to China, a former Senator, was delayed.
Finally, the Chinese stopped all cross strait talks between China’s Association for Relations across the Strait (ARATS) and Taiwan’s Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF).279 The dialogue did not resume through 2007.
Close examination of this incident provides some insight into the conflict between the executive and legislative branches in the U.S. government. A close reading of President Lee’s speech would indicate to an outsider that it was not a separatist speech, but an appeal to find a formula for reunification. But the quick negative reaction on both sides of the Strait has complicated the issue even further.
This declaration was signed the next month after the missile tests in the Taiwan Strait in March. While it was not connected, the timing suggested to many Chinese leaders that it was and that it represented an effort to prepare for a military confrontation between the U.S. and China. This message came through particularly in the wording of the declaration. It stated:
For more than a year, the two governments conducted an intensive review of the evolving political and security environment of the Asia-Pacific region and of various aspects of the Japan-U.S. security relationship. On the basis of this review, the Prime Minister and the President reaffirmed their commitment to the profound common values that guide our national policies: the maintenance of freedom, the pursuit of democracy, and respect for human rights.
Since the United States was still, at that time, making regular statements condemning China’s human rights record, this declaration seemed, to Chinese leaders, to be aimed at them. The declaration reconfirmed the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America which in Article VI states:
For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, the United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan.
This statement becomes important to a cross strait conflict because strong American air and naval assets are located in U.S. bases on the island of Okinawa which is less than 500 miles from the Taiwan Strait. Not only does the declaration specifically mention the support of U.S. forces on Okinawa, it also vaguely defines the territory covered by the declaration in paragraph 5(b) as: “the areas surrounding Japan and which will have an important influence on the peace and security of Japan.” Obviously that statement could include a conflict in the Taiwan Strait. In that case, Japan would be obligated to provide support to the United States.
The declaration also explicitly laid the legal groundwork for later cooperation in the joint development of Theater Missile Defense (TMD) weapons which later, after the firing of the North Korean Taepodong missile across Japan, became an active project.280 Theater missile defense was an anathema for China because if effective it could protect U.S. weapons systems on Okinawa. Further, since part of TMD is a satellite surveillance system, it would take very little effort technically to extend the coverage of a Japanese TMD system to Taiwan.
The Chinese still harbor deep resentments against the Japanese because of atrocities in World War II. Nearly every Chinese has a personal story of how their family was victimized by Japanese soldiers. They also remember the Japanese use of biological and chemical weapons in Northeast China. As a result, nearly all Chinese leaders have a sincere suspicion that Japan will someday remilitarize and that its principal target will be China again. This thought process contributed to a mitigation of the Chinese response to the joint U.S. – Japan Declaration because they know that the presence of U.S. troops in Japan is a major guarantee to prevent Japanese remilitarization. Chinese leaders still worry, however, about Japanese support for the United States in the event of a more likely event: a war with the United States over Taiwan.
The firing of a North Korean missile across Japan in August 1998 ended serious debate about joint development of a TMD system for Asia. Such a TMD system would render a high percentage of China’s deterrence missiles ineffective. This event also suggested to some in the United States and Japan that China should play a more important and active role in containing the North Koreans. In a sense the firing of the missile across Japan brought the U.S. and Japan even closer together to jointly work for peace and security in the Northeast Asia region. That, in turn, translates to being prepared to cooperate in all efforts to assure peace and stability in the region and that would include the Taiwan Strait area.
Operation Allied Force was a NATO response aimed at ensuring full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1199 (Sept. 23rd, 1998) by the Serbian leadership in the former Yugoslavia.282 It was a major demonstration of airpower and the first war ever to be won without committing ground troops. It was another example of military high technology.
The Chinese, however, studied this war to find NATO weaknesses. They were able to identify areas for the PLA to reinforce to prevent such a strategy from being successful against them. PLA leaders believed they had a force far superior to the weak Serb Force that held off NATO for a long time.
They concluded that a superior enemy’s situational awareness and precision-strike systems could be stymied through effective, and often low-tech, counter- reconnaissance measures such as camouflage and concealment, simple decoys, dispersion, and frequent movement of troops. NATO air operations reinforced the PLA’s focus on the use of underground facilities, landline communications, and well-concealed supply depots.283
In essence the Chinese found some hope in the NATO bombing of Kosovo when applied to their situation in the Taiwan Strait. They believe they could prepare in advance and withstand an attack by the United States. This hope was combined with the real belief that if they could cause the war to be protracted, the U.S. population would not support the war and Taiwan would be forced to yield.
At 2146 Zulu (about midnight local time in Belgrade) on 7 May 1999 one of the fleet of B-2 bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base (AFB) in Missouri dropped five precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) 2000 pound bombs. All five bombs hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and killed three Chinese journalists and injured twenty embassy personnel. The Americans claimed they did not know the building was a Chinese Embassy.284 Nearly all Chinese are persuaded that they did know and that it was a deliberate attack on China. This belief was reinforced in one exposé British newspaper.285 The U.S. sent a team to explain the mistake. It also formally apologized to China and paid $4.5 million dollars in restitution, but the Chinese at all levels were not convinced.
The influence on the Taiwan Strait confrontation was indirect. The principal result of the bombing was that the senior military leaders in China who preferred a hard stand against the United States were given more support. This incident, combined with the EP-3 incident in April 2000, provided sufficient high visibility proof to most Chinese that the U.S. was deliberately targeting the Chinese. The result was an increase in the strength of hardliner military voices in the internal Chinese debate on how to deal with the United States. This would include those who insist that a military solution to the Taiwan Strait confrontation is desired.
Less than a month after the 9/11 suicide attacks on the U.S. World Trade Center in New York City a coalition force, supported by 136 countries offering military support and 196 countries offering some form of financial assistance, attacked al-Qaeda and the Taliban inAfghanistan.286 The allied response in the war relied again on high-tech weapons systems and drove most of the terrorists from their caves. The Chinese watched as B-2 Bombers struck from bases in the center of the United States, B-52s struck from Europe, and F-18s struck from nearby aircraft carriers. Even modern attack helicopters and unmanned air vehicles were used effectively. The Chinese again had to reassess their own capabilities if they were to meet the United States in the Taiwan Strait area. They became a little less confident than they were after the Kosovo War. It was another event that dampened the eagerness of senior Chinese military men to confront U.S. power and probably reinforced the notion of “peaceful reunification.”
The principal influence of entry into the WTO by China and Taiwan is that both are now being more fully integrated into the world trade system and some of the barriers to China-Taiwan trade and investment are being removed. Most important is that both China and Taiwan are in the limelight and any military confrontation between the two will harm them both and their dealings with other world countries. This means that economic leaders in China gained strength in their voice about international foreign policy. This balances the internal debate with military leaders over what to do in the Taiwan Strait. Economic leaders are the first to see the complete consequences that a military confrontation would have on China’s economic development.
On November 4, 2002 China took a major step forward in resolving the Spratly Islands issue by signing an accord with ten ASEAN states at the ASEAN Summit meeting. 287 China had conflicting claims with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei on the islands. The sixth claimant is Taiwan. Even though Taiwan now occupies the largest of the islands, Itu Aba, its claim is based on history and is essentially the same as that of China, which occupies several of the other reefs, so the two do not compete over the issue.
Reaching an accord in 2002 means the main point of conflict between ASEAN countries and China has been essentially resolved. That reduces Taiwan’s ability to gain moral support from those countries in the Taiwan Strait case. In 1996 after the missile tests (described below), Taiwan’s President Lee Tenghui tried to reign in the increasing Taiwanese investment in China. He promoted a “Southern Strategy” by encouraging Taiwanese entrepreneurs to invest in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. One reason was to gain or buy more support for a “free and independent Taiwan,” but the main reason was to slow down the massive investments going to China. Lee realized that the more Taiwan became entangled in the economic development of China, the more difficult it would be to maintain a safe political distance from China.
Signing the accord effectively removed this issue from the regional debate and improved China’s reputation for resolving conflicts peacefully. That in turn placed more pressure on Taiwan when it came to persuading the world that any Taiwan Strait conflict is the entire fault of China; especially if such a conflict occurs after a major political move by Taiwan like declaring independence.
People’s Liberation Army officers and soldiers, as well as civilian officials, at all levels have watched the events in Iraq very carefully. The war has reinforced their previous conclusions that high-tech warfare will be critical in the future. They have noted major changes in the strategies of military warfare.
Karl von Clausewitz, at the beginning of the 19th Century, stated that “war is merely a continuation of policy by other means.” It was a profound, albeit controversial, observation at the
time. It allowed military strategists and analysts to analytically tie military and political action together much as the concepts of murder and motive are linked. It created a different way to think about warfare and caused new military strategies to be developed.
At that time the basis for military action was simply that one side perceived it had the ability to win a military victory over the other side. That analysis was based upon comparison of military strength as defined by quantity of soldiers and quality of weapons systems. In some cases the calculation also included such factors as total industrial capacity, national will, and even geography.
Clausewitz’ observation also ultimately contributed to the realist “balance of power” theory best articulated by Hans Morganthau in the early 1950s. The theory generally stated that international centers of power include alliances that balance power between the sides. Balance of power theory, it was stated, is most effective in preventing war when there are at least three major centers where two centers confront each other and the third serves as a balancer. The third side prevents an attack by either of the other two by creating an uncertainty as to which side it would join in the case of hostilities. As World Wars I and II proved, the theory did not prevent major war.
The next major watershed in strategic military thought was the American use of atomic weapons to end World War II. At that time the fundamental approach to strategy transitioned from comparison of conventional capabilities and political alignments to one of mutual deterrence based on fear of destruction by nuclear weapons. Destruction was even defined in terms of percentage of population, industry and enemy troops that could be destroyed in a first or second strike. That change in thinking about warfare served the world well by preventing a world war during the next 50+ years.
The current military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan will become as significant in strategic military thought as was the dropping of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. The new focus of strategic military thought will focus on intelligence collection to identify critical targets of a potential enemy, penetration capability using such weapons as stealth bombers and stand-off cruise missiles; precision guided weapons that can surgically destroy identified military targets with a minimum of civilian casualties, and weapons such as bunker buster bombs that can penetrate protected targets. It will allow military planners to delay actual military confrontation on the front lines between infantry or naval units as they narrowly target key decision-makers and communications facilities to sever the command and control of the other side.
Chinese military leaders understand this major transition to new strategies of warfare as they understood the importance of nuclear weapons in the 1960s. They will continue to emphasize military research and development to find ways to counter surveillance and ordnance guidance systems by neutralizing opposition satellites. But at the same time, they will become more cautious about confronting the United States over Taiwan. They understand the potential destruction that could be delivered on them through surgical strikes of key military or government facilities or leadership targets. American superiority has also been reinforced in the initial showing of Patriot air defense missiles which could be a prelude to a workable theater missile defense system. There is no doubt that the strategic environment in which Chinese officials now make military decisions has completely changed. The consequences of these changes suggest that a military confrontation between China and the United States over Taiwan is now much less likely.
The Nationalist-Communist military confrontation began in earnest in July 1946 when peace negotiations broke down.289 Theyhad twice tried to work together previously in two united fronts. The victory for the Communists in the Chinese Civil War can be dated to 1949 when Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan. Actually many stragglers entered Taiwan long after 1949, but the formal declaration of victory was on what is now China’s National Day, October 1. At that time Taiwan was able to maintain control of three groups of key offshore islands; Jinmen, Mazu and the Dazhen group of islands. Farther out in the strait they kept control of the Penghu Islands and finally the main island of Taiwan.
After Communist forces had defeated Nationalist forces in Xiamen in October, 1949, they continued their attack by invading Jinmen Island.290 They successfully landed three divisions on the island, but all were either captured or killed.291 At the same time China was massing forces under General Chen I (陈毅), about 300,000 men, for an invasion of Taiwan.292 They had built invasion barges, assembled 5,000 junks and built airfields.293 It appeared as though the Communists would complete their revolution with the conquest of Taiwan.
Between 1948 and 1950 there was a broad and complicated debate in the United States about whether to recognize the new Communist regime in China and abandon the Nationalists who by 1950 were in exile in Taiwan.294 Generally the U.S. Department of State under Dean Acheson promoted abandoning the Nationalists and recognizing China as a means to possibly entice China away from the Soviet Union. The U.S. Congress, some influenced by an effective Taiwan lobby, was reluctant to abandon Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists.295 Many American military and political leaders saw Communism as a great danger and advocated protecting Taiwan against a Communist invasion. The formal military recommendation by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, in December 1949, was to help the Nationalists and help defend Taiwan by sending a military mission there.296 In March, 1949, General Douglas MacArthur had stated: “There is no earthly military reason why we (the U.S.) should need Formosa as a base.”297 But on May 29, 1950, just prior to the attack in Korea, MacArthur reversed himself and made the statement that Taiwan was an “unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine tender” of vital importance to regional security.298 Those closest to Chiang though, like General Joseph Stilwell, regardless of organizational affiliation, were disenchanted with corruption and ineptitude in the Nationalist government and had decided that recognition of China might be more in the US interest of containing the Soviet Union.299 The exception to this was the group surrounding General Claire Chennault, the Air Force general of “Flying Tiger” fame who had established a close relationship with Chiang and Madame Chiang.
Part of this debate was whether to recognize Communist China and let Taiwan go, or to protect Taiwan from a Communist invasion. Even our ally, the British, had decided to recognize China in January 1950 and had reached an accommodation over Hong Kong. The debate was also influenced by the McCarthy Hearings in congress at the time. These hearings were trying to determine “who lost China?” and were designed to tar and feather all “communists” or “communist sympathizers.”
The fact that the United States was in the formal process of abandoning Taiwan first formally appeared in December 1949 in secret State Department memos to diplomatic and consular offices in the Far East stating that “the fall of Taiwan to the Chinese Communist forces was widely expected, the island had no special military significance and it was politically, geographically, and strategically a part of China.”300
Next came a speech made by President Truman on January 5, 1950. In that speech, rejecting the Joint Chiefs’ recommendation, he stated inter alia that: “the United States Government will not intervene or provide military aid or advice to Chinese forces on Formosa.”301 The House Committee on Foreign Affairs, immediately (on February 9, 1950) responded by suggesting that they had examined the questions of how "Formosa" should be governed in the future. They considered several alternatives from independence to a UN Trusteeship. Their findings in a policy review, suggested that Taiwan was a part of China and that it was now, under Chiang Kai- shek, the seat of government under China even though the KMT only controlled Taiwan and Hainan Island at the time. In any case, this began the continuous off and on confrontation between the US President and the Congress over Taiwan that continues today.
The Chinese Communists made two mistakes in 1950 that settled the debate in the United States. First, Chairman Mao Zedong made an important speech in which he stated that China would “lean to one side” in foreign relations; that is, he criticized America and praised the Soviet Union and stated that China would side with the Soviets. Second, he encouraged and supported the June 25, 1950 North Korean Attack into South Korea. Although the Korean War was labeled a United Nations war, it was primarily led and fought by the United States.302 When Chinese troops entered the war on the side of the North Koreans on October 19, 1950, the “enemy” relationship between American and Chinese troops was cemented.
In the meantime, two days after the Korean War began; President Truman issued an order to move the US Navy Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to prevent any attack on Taiwan. Truman's order was a remarkable statement that included calling on Taiwan to cease all air and sea operations against the Mainland. This was perhaps the first formal statement that, from a U.S. perspective, the future status of Taiwan would have to be settled later and peacefully. U.S. policy has been consistent since that time -- 1950. China's Premier Chou Enlai immediately responded by stating that Truman's statement and the move of U.S. Navy into the area constituted aggression against China.
China's formal designation as an enemy during the Korean War also facilitated the American suggestion that Taiwan's government conclude a peace treaty with Japan to clarify the status of Taiwan, including the Penghu Islands, and the Paracel Islands. China's Chou Enlai's response was to immediately renounce the idea as a violation of the Cairo Declaration, the Yalta Agreement and the Potsdam Proclamation because he believed Taiwan had no right to speak for China. But Taiwan and Japan did conclude the treaty, known as the San Francisco Treaty, on April 28, 1952. Since Taiwan still represented "China" in the United Nations at that time and because China was considered an enemy of the UN because it was fighting on the side of North Korea, the treaty was considered valid by the international community.
The Cold War solidified and China was on the other side of the Bamboo Curtain. America's policy of "Containment of Communism" caused the United States to choose friends and allies who were anti-Communist, and few fit the description better than Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists in Taiwan. Insertion of the Seventh Fleet caused China to delay plans for “liberating" Taiwan. The Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Strait represented, to the Chinese Communists, a reversal in US policy. It meant the United States was now actively interfering in China’s Civil War and that was even more important than what was happening in Korea.
During the Korean War, Chiang Kai-shek offered to send Nationalist troops to help in Korea, but American military leaders worried about control, having experience working with Nationalist troops before, and did not trust the effort. Some thought Chiang would not stop if the war progressed to the Chinese border. He did serve a purpose though in accepting about 20,000 Chinese Communist prisoners who wanted to defect to Taiwan.
During the War, after the Chinese had entered and become somewhat successful in their counterattacks against the Americans, there were discussions about a negotiated settlement. The Chinese wanted recognition and their “rightful” seat in the United Nations.303 But most Americans, in the midst of an extremely anti-Communist atmosphere, could not compromise and appear to be appeasing the Chinese who had to be punished for entering the Korean War against American Forces. In the meantime, back in Taiwan, the U.S. 13th Air Force had established liaison offices in Taipei in August 1950, just prior to the Chinese entering the War in October. President Truman, in late November, hinted that the U.S. may have to use nuclear weapons against the Chinese in Korea.304 In May of 1951 the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) was established. Both were rationalized in terms of helping to strengthen Nationalist forces to contain Communism in Asia and both were perceived by China as interference in their Civil War.
The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953, but the Cold War, characterized by the global “containment” of Communism, was just beginning. American policy was to strengthen alliances against the Communist Bloc that included China. The United States had begun “to substitute bilateral or multilateral treaties for unilateral pronouncements or commitments” beginning with the Rio Pact of 1947. The United States and Japan signed the Mutual Security Treaty on September 8, 1951, and that allowed the U.S. to station U.S. troops in Japan. On March 8, 1954, the two countries signed the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement (entered into force May 1, 1954), which focused on defense assistance.305
In 1954 the US signed a Mutual Defense Treaty with South Korea. Also in 1954, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty was organized by representatives of Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States.306 The Australian New Zealand United States (ANZUS) Pact307 had been concluded in 1952 and the Manila Pact was signed in September 1954.308 All of these treaties were collective defense treaties and mostly aimed at the Communist Bloc. China began to see itself encircled by the Western powers.
Just before the end of the Korean War, in March 1953, the Nationalist Ambassador to Washington, Wellington Koo, suggested a mutual defense treaty. The idea was considered but not acted upon until then Vice-president Richard Nixon traveled to Taiwan, in November 1953, and the Nationalist leaders formally proposed a mutual defense treaty. After studying the draft treaty the US side decided that it might draw US forces into a conflict too easily because it included the various small offshore islands and because the Nationalists principal propaganda campaign at the time, 1954, was “counter-attack the mainland” (反攻大陆).
At the same time, the main theme on the Mainland was to Liberate Taiwan (解放台湾). But it was more than words. China deployed over 100,000 troops to southern Fujian, across from Taiwan.309 They also began to assemble a large number of boats for another invasion attempt. In May and June of 1954 the PLA began to attack the offshore islands. They also shelled Jinmen and little Jinmen. On September 4, the U.S. Navy sent three aircraft carrier groups to the area for training maneuvers for three weeks.310 This show of force was a clear signal to the Communists that the U.S. had an interest in the area, but it also emboldened the Nationalists. On September 8, Taiwan’s Air Force flew over 100 sorties against the Mainland in the Xiamen area using U.S. F- 85 fighter-bombers which “required the most explicit U.S. approval.”311
The fighting was reduced in October, but picked up again on November 1, when the Communists initiated a full-scale attack against the Dazhen Island Group. The Communist side increased military pressure in December by increasing its naval activity and by setting up new artillery positions nearby.
The motivation for the attacks in the summer and fall of 1954 was primarily political: to influence the negotiations taking place between Taiwan and the United States and within the United States over a mutual defense treaty.312 China’s overall purpose was to drive a wedge between the United States and Taiwan by playing on public opinion which did not favor committing the United States to war over a couple of small offshore islands. To a lesser extent the attacks were intended to dissuade the SEATO powers from including Taiwan in its area of concern and to discourage the formation of a Northeast Asia Treaty Organization.
Each time negotiations were highlighted in the press, the Chinese Communists increased the intensity of their bombing and attacks. As the negotiations profile lowered, the attack intensity lowered. The Communists were telling U.S. leaders that if they concluded a mutual defense treaty with the Nationalists, they could expect plenty of trouble from China for a long time.313 The attacks were accompanied by statements in the Communist press that promoted the “Liberate Taiwan” campaign. They used every sort of propaganda tool they could. On November 23, when the U.S. and Nationalists initialed a formal mutual defense treaty, they “announced that eleven American airmen and two civilians captured during the Korean War had been sentenced to terms in prison.”314 The 1954 attacks on the offshore islands were a clear attempt by the Communist side to influence the internal US debate over whether or not to support the Nationalists with a mutual defense treaty. The announcement about the airmen was more of a punishment. The attacks worked to a degree to hold up the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty (hereafter referred to as MDT), but ultimately it was concluded.
During the Fall of 1954 efforts to conclude a ceasefire in the United Nations were not successful. Both Taiwan and China were afraid that any de jure ceasefire would lead to a divided nation like Korea.315 The MDT negotiators narrowed the differences in positions by including only Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands, not the many other offshore islands that were held by Taiwan at that time. It did however, leave a loophole that could be later interpreted to allow defense of other islands if those islands appeared to be a part of a larger invasion of Taiwan.
The Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the ROC was signed on December 2, 1954 and this caused a serious protest by China. Not only did Chinese leaders accuse the US of meddling in their internal affairs, they stated that this was a form of “open occupation of China’s territory.”316 They believed the MDT and a later congressional Formosa resolution were not defensive, but offensive and a form of war declaration.317
President Eisenhower submitted the MDT to the U.S. Senate on January 6, 1955. On January 10 the Communists attacked the Dazhen Islands with over 100 planes. On January 18, 1955, about 4,000 Communist amphibious troops, under cover of naval gunfire, artillery and airplanes, attacked Ijiangshan, one of the islets, eight miles from the Dazhen Island Group. Sustaining heavy casualties, they killed all 720 Nationalist defenders who fought to the last man.318
The day after the attack began, January 19, President Eisenhower, for political more than military reasons, decided to evacuate the Dazhens. He needed congressional support for the evacuation and needed to bargain with Chiang Kai-shek to force him to give up the islands. Eisenhower got the Formosa Resolution from the U.S. Congress. His bargain with the Nationalists was that the U.S. would announce a joint defense of Jinmen, but not Mazu.319 On February 3 they agreed that the U.S. would jointly defend both islands in exchange for the withdrawal from the Dazhens, but that there could be no public announcement. Taiwan was also able to hold two smaller islets a little farther out in the Strait: Wu Ch'iu Yü and Xiao Ch'iu Yü (See Map -- Figure 4-2).320
The Nationalists, under U.S. military protection, evacuated all 15,000 troops and 17,132 civilians from the Dazhen island group and from Nanji Island to Taiwan. That left only Jinmen and Mazu as offshore islands under Nationalist control. “The U.S. Navy deployed an armada of five or six carriers, two to four cruisers, abut forty destroyers, and auxiliary ships, to cover the evacuation. The U.S. Air Force sent planes to Taiwan, patrolled the Strait heavily, and went on a full war basis in the East.”321 President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles also again implied a potential use of nuclear weapons against China.322 In the face of such strong U.S. military presence, the Communists stopped shelling the Dazhens and did not contest the evacuation. In March the Communists, partially because of the U.S. strong stand and partially because China changed its policy (described below), stopped shelling Jinmen and Mazu and that ended the crisis of 1954-1955.323
The U.S. Senate reviewed the MDT and added the idea that there would have to be mutual agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan before any troops were committed to fulfill the requirements of the treaty. They also noted that before such action could be taken the President would have to seek the advice and consent of the Senate.
The U.S. Senate ratified the MDT on February 9, 1955 by a vote of 64-6. At a press conference in Taiwan on March 15, Secretary of State Dulles stated that “the President of the United States presumably would order U.S. air and sea forces into action if there were an attack on the offshore islands that was a part of a larger assault on Taiwan.”324 The Communists had miscalculated American congressional and public support for the defense of Taiwan during this period of intense anti-communist rhetoric in the U.S.
The signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty had at least five lasting legacies for U.S. – Taiwan relations. All five worked to ensure that the U.S. was included in any future security calculus by military leaders in both China and Taiwan.
The first legacy made it clear that during the period covered by the MDT the Communists could not exercise political sovereignty over Taiwan unless they won a war with the United States or if they were able to reach an accommodation with Taiwan to join the PRC.325
Second, Taiwan was elevated to a diplomatic level equivalent to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, each of which had signed mutual defense treaties with the United States. This in turn, supported their claim to be the legitimate government of all of China and their hold on the UN seat. It also ultimately supported the claim of Taiwan statehood because part of the criteria for statehood is the ability to conclude treaties at the nation-state level. Taiwan hoped this would lead to being included in later multi-lateral defense treaties designed to contain Communism, but that did not happen.326
Third, the MDT had the potential to provide a basis for a later Taiwan independence effort. Lower level U.S. officials at the time of the signing of the MDT may have suggested that Taiwan should become an independent state, but it never reached the level of official U.S. policy. In any case, as soon as the treaty was signed, Chou Enlai “declared ‘before the whole world’ that Taiwan belonged to China, that the Chinese people were determined to liberate Taiwan, and that the proposals for an independent Taiwan, a neutralized Taiwan, or a Taiwan under trusteeship were ‘utterly unacceptable to the Chinese People’”.327 Part of the reason China felt so strongly about the MDT was that Britain had supported it even though it had diplomatic relations with China at the time.
Fourth, the MDT provided the perception that America was prepared to assist the Nationalists to retake the Mainland. Many official statements made in 1954 implied that the treaty would be part of a larger plan to “rollback” Communist “expansion” efforts.328 The MDT could conceivably be used to involve the United States legally even if China attacked the offshore
islands. It was a time when the “Communist menace” loomed large and much thinking went into how to stop and reverse the trend. Some viewed potential scenarios like responding to an attack on the offshore islands with a counterattack in Korea, now stalemated at the 38th parallel, and a second front in Hainan Island to protect Southeast Asia from Communist expansion.
Communist leaders had good cause to be concerned about the MDT and the thinking about a counterattack. John Foster Dulles, American Secretary of State at the time, had implied that based on Article VI of the treaty, the U.S. and the Nationalists could expand the territories included in the treaty by mutual agreement to include territory that might in the future come under effective control of the Nationalists.
For the purposes of Articles II and V, the terms "territorial" and "territories" shall mean in respect of the Republic of China, Taiwan and the Pescadores; and in respect to the United States of America, the island territories in the West Pacific under its jurisdiction. The provisions of Articles II and V will be applicable to such other territories as may be determined by mutual agreement.
The 1954 Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the ROC
Finally, the Mutual Defense Treaty was the basis for stationing U.S. troops in Taiwan for the next thirty-five years. U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force bases were established in Taiwan and American advisors were stationed with Nationalist troops even on the islands of Jinmen and Mazu. No ground combat forces were stationed on Taiwan, as on Okinawa or in Japan, but the number of support and intelligence personnel reached over 5,000 in 1959.
Thousands of U.S. Military personnel developed close personal ties with individuals in the Nationalist military. American presence included support facilities like an American High School, which the children of many of Taiwan’s elites attended, Officers and Noncommissioned Officers Clubs, Post Exchanges, hospitals, etc. The presence was very visible.
China’s answer to this “military occupation” of Taiwan was to demand the withdrawal of forces on a regular basis from 1954 until 1978 when the U.S. did withdraw all forces. When the U.S. announced that it would recognize the People’s Republic of China in December 1978 the MDT would have to be terminated. It was terminated, based on a one-year notice clause in the treaty, on January 1, 1980, but the last military personnel departed Taiwan in April 1979.329
In the months after the signing of the MDT and the announcement of the Formosa Resolution tensions in the Strait began to subside for a number of reasons.330 The U.S. and Britain tried to convince Chiang Kai-shek to give up the offshore islands of Jinmen and Mazu in exchange for stronger guarantees of protection for Taiwan and the Pescadores. Chiang rejected the proposal for at least three reasons: (1) he didn’t want it to appear that the U.S. was dictating policy to him, (2) he believed it would negatively affect the morale of his military forces, and (3) his holding of the islands were symbolic of his claim to the Mainland. The Communists continued to put military pressure on the offshore islands for a period of time after the MDT signing, but they too had a major change in direction for seven reasons: (1) they were entering a period of overall foreign policy change to what they called “peaceful coexistence,” (2) the Soviet Union indicated it would not support a major war over the offshore islands because they were moving toward a period of détente with the United States, (3) China would need a more peaceful Asia to increase its trade and modernize its economy, (4) neighboring nations began to encourage China to be more peaceful, (5) U.S. and British pressures on Chiang were becoming increasingly public, (6) the U.S. made it clear that it would not support Chiang in an invasion of China, and (7) perhaps most important, the Communists realized that if they did gain control of the offshore islands it would be much easier for Taiwan to declare independence from China.331 The offshore islands served as a major symbolic link between Taiwan and the Mainland.
At one point the Soviets tried to convene an international conference to address the problem, but it was not possible to get China and Taiwan to sit at the same table for negotiations; a precursor of later efforts to solve the cross strait problem. The UN could not be used in this effort because Taiwan held the “China Seat,” was one of the Permanent Five, and could veto anything that would adversely affect Taiwan’s interests. On August 1, 1955, the U.S. and China held Ambassadorial level talks in Geneva.332 The U.S. wanted China to renounce the use of force in the Taiwan Strait and China wanted the American troops withdrawn from the Taiwan area. Chou Enlai said the Communists would try to recover Taiwan using peaceful means, but could not renounce the use of force as a last resort; another similarity with the situation today.
One lasting consequence of this period was that the United States was left as the only nation that was committed to the defense of Taiwan. The Communists had “demonstrated to the world the problems and tensions that would face anyone involved in trying to separate Taiwan fromChina.”333 It was clear though, that the United States would continue to play a major role in the security of Taiwan.
On August 23, 1958, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) artillery units lobbed approximately 42,000 shells onto Jinmen.335 Again, the primary motivation for the attack was political; similar to that of the 1954-55 crisis. The first purpose was to drive the United States out of the Taiwan area by highlighting the danger of another (after Korea) U.S.–China war over a couple of insignificant offshore islands. Many observers, however, interpreted the shelling as the beginning of “the use of force” to solve the Taiwan problem and a prelude to an invasion.336 The Chinese believed such a war would not be popular with the Congress or American people. It was another Chinese miscalculation at a time when the anti-communist mood in the country was still strong. The shelling did, however, bring some pressure on the U.S. government to solve the problem. U.S. public opinion and most world nations believed that Taiwan had provoked the attack and that the U.S. should sever the offshore islands from the issue of Taiwan defense.
Part of the rationale for the shelling resulted from a U.S. Department of State memorandum that explained the U.S. non-recognition of China. It stated that “communism’s rule in China is not permanent and that one day it will pass.”337 That statement provided the reason behind the U.S. supporting the Nationalists and the rationale for not having a “Two China” policy.
This crisis started at a time, in the summer of 1958 when Ambassadorial Talks in Geneva, the only place where the U.S. and China had official contact, became stalemated. The U.S. wanted China to renounce the use of force and release Americans held in China. China responded with the demand that the U.S. withdraw all forces from the area of Taiwan and stop trying to create “two Chinas.”338 On July 28, the U.S. suggested any contact between the two sides be accomplished in Warsaw where both sides had embassies. China delayed a response so there was a period in which there was no official channel of communication between the two sides. On September 5, China agreed to resume talks believing their position had strengthened because of their efforts in Jinmen.
This crisis involved the United States in three important ways. President Eisenhower stated that the offshore islands were important to the defense of Taiwan and were part of the U.S. defense system that extended from Japan through the island chains to the Philippines.339 As a result the U.S. again sent in the U.S. Seventh Fleet to escort supply ships to Jinmen and Mazu to break the attempted blockade. China, on September 4, 1958 went on record to claim its territorial waters extended to 12 miles, but the U.S. only recognized a three-mile limit and escorted ships to within three miles. The statement explicitly included Taiwan and the offshore islands in the claim. Secondly, the U.S. constructed a large U.S. Airbase outside the city of Taichung in Taiwan. It was capable of handling B-52s, the most dangerous strategic weapon of the time. Finally, the U.S. deployed into Taiwan Matador missiles which carried tactical nuclear warheads.340 The U.S. and China were again on the brink of nuclear war. Nuclear weapons were not removed from Taiwan until 1974.341
China, during the period from August 23 to October 4, bombarded Jinmen with 444,433 artillery rounds. At the same time, the U.S. increased their supply of weapons to Taiwan. They added eight-inch howitzers and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Taiwan’s Air Force maintained superiority in the air and shot down 31 Communist airplanes.342
Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, also on September 4, 1958, made a forceful statement about U.S. support for Taiwan and the offshore islands and planned a trip to Taiwan. Shelling was increased just before he visited Taiwan on October 20. Again, the Communists were making a political statement with their artillery. On October 23, the United States and Taiwan issued a joint communiqué of resolve to defend Taiwan and the offshore islands. Once the Communists were convinced that the U.S. was going to continue to support Taiwan and that the shelling was having the wrong impact on the U.S. – Taiwan relationship, on October 25, Defense Minister Peng Dehuai announced an unprecedented “even-day” cease fire and shelling continued only on odd-days of the month. On the same day Peng made an appeal to the Taiwanese to unify with China. On June 17-18, 1960, however, they couldn’t resist making an “artillery point” by increasing the shelling (approximately 86,000 shells) during President Eisenhower’s visit to Taiwan.343 The political shelling on odd-days lasted until January 1, 1979; the day the U.S. formally recognized China. It was a constant reminder that China and Taiwan were still at war.
Throughout the 1958 crisis the Communists made it clear that the attack was on “Taiwan”, and that the shelling of Jinmen was an integral part of the liberation of Taiwan. They did not want to get the offshore islands back without Taiwan. On November 1, Foreign Minister Chen Yi stated that “the offshore islands and Taiwan must be liberated together.”344 That statement made it easier for the U.S. to invoke the Formosa Resolution345 and make a strong showing by taking away the argument by domestic and international critics that the U.S. should separate the offshore islands problem from the defense of Taiwan. A legal case for US support was made in December 1958 by pointing out that there was no formal ceding of Taiwan to China and contrary to the UN Charter; China was trying to take territory that did not belong to it by force. The U.S. was viewed by some as protecting Taiwan in accordance with international law.
The crisis part of the U.S. – China confrontation ended in November and December as the shelling became routine on odd-days. Tensions continued, but it was no longer a crisis and it was no longer believed that the shelling was a prelude to an invasion of the main island of Taiwan.
China considered the United States to be the power in control of Taiwan. In March, 1959, at a meeting with Latin American Communist and Workers' Party leaders, Chairman Mao Zedong stated:
We do not want conciliation with the U.S.A. The United States must submit to us. Otherwise we do not wish to enter into negotiations with them. It is unimportant if they do not return Taiwan to us for another 100 years. If they do not recognize us,then we have no desire to recognize them either.
China had launched the “Great Leap Forward”, an economic movement, in 1958 and it was a disaster. Food shortages and unrest appeared all over China. Also in the first half of 1962 there were a number of natural calamities that caused some to think, using a Chinese mindset, that the Communists had lost the “Mandate of Heaven,” the traditional concept that legitimized revolution. If the Emperor had ruled badly and there were also natural disasters, it was believed the Emperor had lost the right to rule and revolution was justified. As 100,000 refugees escaped into Hong Kong and the Chinese were having problems with the USSR on their northern border, Chiang Kai-shek saw an opportunity to recover the mainland. At his Chinese New Year’s speech he stated:
Our armed forces have made adequate preparations for the counter-offensive, and, therefore, are capable of moving into action at any time. Have no fear of being alone in rising against the Communists. Have no fear of lack or shortage of supplies or help. Both will be forthcoming once you take action.346
As PRC leaders listened and watched they saw an increase in Taiwan’s conscription, visits by very senior U.S. leaders, and optimism about recovering the Mainland appeared in the newspapers. The U.S. even appointed a new Ambassador, Admiral Alan G. Kirk, who had experience with amphibious operations in World War II.347 While the appointment and visits by U.S. leaders were intended to discourage an invasion by Chiang, Communist leaders probably got the opposite message that support was intended and they began to build up their forces in Fujian province, opposite Taiwan.
The Nationalists did send some commando teams into China, but they were not very successful and by then the pressures from the U.S. caused the Nationalists to back off. Talks in Warsaw also convinced the Communists that the U.S. policy would continue to be defensive and the U.S. would not support an invasion by the Nationalists of the Mainland.
While this period can be described as a quiet period in cross strait activity, it was definitely not quiet in the overall strategic relationships between the United States, China and Taiwan. This was the period in which the United States changed its formal diplomatic recognition from the Republic of China in Taiwan to the Peoples' Republic of China on the Mainland. It was also the period in which China replaced Taiwan in the United Nations and gained international legitimacy.
Chiang might have been expected to repeat his attempt to “counterattack” the Mainland during the chaos of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), but he knew he would not only not receive support from the U.S. for offensive operations, he would be stopped. He changed his strategy to trying to subvert the Mainland from within rather than invade from the outside. His new strategic slogan became “Three parts military, seven parts political; three parts in front and seven parts behind enemy lines (三分軍事七分政治, 三分敵前, 七分敵後).”
It was also during this period when the Nationalists realized that if they could not get their foot in the door during such a chaotic period, it was not likely that they could ever succeed by confrontation. As a result they began to focus on building Taiwan more than on returning to the Mainland.
United States leaders began to see that while tensions persisted, the likelihood of direct military confrontation between Taiwan and China had stabilized. President Richard Nixon began to take steps to improve the U.S. relationship with China. His first step was to withdraw the Seventh Fleet from the Taiwan Strait on December 24, 1969. He also reduced trade and travel restrictions, opened a dialogue with China, and announced the U.S. would not oppose China’s entry into the United Nations.
The first major visit by Americans to China was in April 1971 when a ping-pong team that was in Japan at the time was invited to visit China for exhibition matches. The visit became known as “Ping Pong Diplomacy”.348 The ping-pong team visit was followed by a secret visit by President Nixon's National Security Advisor, State Henry Kissinger, to China in July to arrange a summit between Chairman Mao and President Nixon.349
At that time a press officer for the U.S. Department of State reiterated that U.S. policy was to recognize that both China and Taiwan claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and that the U.S. would leave it to the two parties to resolve the issue. The only American interest, again, was that it be done peacefully. This language was to become a part of the later Shanghai Communiqué in which the U.S. recognized China formally. Taiwan suspected immediately that the language would be a problem and in a Foreign Ministry statement expressed shock and asked the U.S. for clarification.
The Chinese were voted into the United Nations with UN Resolution 2758 by a vote of 76-35 with 17 abstentions on October 25, 1971. It was a major diplomatic step forward for the Chinese. Taiwan withdrew and China assumed the seats in the UN General Assembly and Security Council on November 1, 1971. This opened the door for a number of states to recognize China and withdraw their embassies from Taiwan. While all this was happening in U.S.– China bilateral affairs and in the international arena, the situation was quiet in the Taiwan Strait.
The path for the UN action was paved by the major U.S. change in policy and formal recognition as a result of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's secret talks with Premier Chou Enlai and with the President Nixon visit to China in February 1972. The general rationale for the U.S. change was stated by President Nixon in his President's Foreign Policy Report: "The Chinese are a great and vital people who should not remain isolated from the international community. In the long run, no stable and enduring international order is conceivable without the contribution of this nation of more than 700 million people."350 During the secret talks, President Nixon and Secretary
of State Kissinger made five promises to the Chinese that outlined future U.S. policy and became known as "Nixon's Five Points."351 They were:
1. Status is determined -- one China, Taiwan is part of China--2. Will not support Taiwan independence 3. Try (original emphasis) to restrain Japan -- (from increasing influence on Taiwan) 4. Support peaceful resolution 5.Will seek normalization
Strategically, an effort to work with China to balance the power of the Soviet Union was also a major contributing consideration. So too was the effort to solicit China's help in ending the Vietnam War. The U.S. formally recognized China on January 1, 1979.
The atmosphere in the Taiwan Strait was particularly calm after January 1, 1979 when the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress sent a “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.” That message launched a period in which China tried to find a solution to the Taiwan problem under the slogan of “peaceful reunification” as opposed to the threat or use of force. This period lasted until October 1994 when China began to conduct a series of military amphibious combined arms exercises in the area opposite and around Taiwan. These exercises were punctuated with tests of ballistic missiles for effect.
The military exercises that tested ballistic missiles are known as the 1995-1996 Cross Strait Missile Crisis, but the period in which the People’s Liberation Army began to conduct military exercises opposite Taiwan, with the intent to intimidate Taiwan, actually began with a combined arms exercise on Chaoshan Island opposite Southern Taiwan in October 1994.353 That was followed by China’s 42nd underground nuclear test at Lop Nor on May 15, 1995.354 That test was probably not intended to influence Taiwan, but it was probably intended partially to influence the United States. It was a demonstration of potential military capability.
The next major demonstration designed to influence politics within Taiwan included the firing of six nuclear capable DF-15 (M-9)355 missiles to an area within 90 miles of Taiwan in July. The tests were announced only three days before they began and there was little fanfare about them. Prior to this time the PLA was not experienced at amphibious operations or combined arms operations. The leadership had not boasted very much about their capabilities to invade Taiwan successfully. In fact one group of naval authors mentioned in a popular book entitled,Can China’s Armed Forces Win the Next War?: “In a word, in solving the problem of Taiwan’s return to the
motherland, the use of force would be a really unwise decision.”356
Figure 4—1 PLA Military Exercises -- 1994-1996
Distance from Taiwan
Large scale combined arms (Army, Navy, Air Force) exercise
20 naval ships, 40 aircraft, artillery, anti-ship and anti-air missiles
August 17, 1995
Underground Nuclear Test
Approx. miles 2,000
November 15-25, 1995
Large scale amphibious exercises, Dongshan Island, Fujian Province
March 8-15, 1996
4 DF-15 (M-9)
(NE Zone 22 miles and SE Zone 33 miles)
March 12-20, 1996
Live fire naval and air exercises, 10 ships, 40 aircraft (new Su-27 jet fighters)
March 18-25, 1996
Joint Ground, Navy, Air exercises
The PLA had never conducted an opposed amphibious operation so there was no military doctrine written for it. The approach to writing new military doctrine is like the development of many of China’s military, political and economic policies. First a test activity or demonstration project is tried and if it works it is refined and written as doctrine. These first two exercises (1994 and 1995) were the beginning of that process. They had to develop clear doctrine on how to integrate artillery, air forces, navy, marines and other logistics support. The confidence level was not high at the time, but the PLA was still able to demonstrate a large scale operation was possible and the emphasis on amphibious operations was a clear message to Taiwan
The United States did not stand by idly. On December 12, Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye after returning from a visit to Beijing issued a warning that an escalation of the cross strait conflict could be catastrophic. It was “the first high-level and public warning to Beijing during the mounting crisis that the U.S. might intervene in a cross strait war.”358 A few days later, on December 19th, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz passed through the Taiwan Strait on its way from Japan to the Middle East. This passage was an important political signal because it was the first time in seventeen years that a U.S. aircraft carrier had transited the Strait.
It is not clear whether the decision for the Nimitz to go between Taiwan and China was a deliberate political warning or whether it was, as later stated, “a weather necessity.”359 There was no big fuss about the transit and in fact it wasn’t even publicly mentioned until six weeks later. Nonetheless, the U.S. Navy could have expected the Chinese Navy to monitor the passage and the message that the U.S. had an interest in the area was clear.
In Taiwan the forces for Taiwan independence were getting stronger and more vocal. Chinese leaders saw a popular Taiwanese President, Lee Tenghui, running for re-election. As explained in Chapter Two he appeared to be moving closer to Taiwan independence which Communist leaders would not tolerate. When they considered options to influence the election they decided to display military force again to get the attention of the Taiwanese. Again the use of force was for political reasons, not military.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense, William Perry, announced on March 8 that the USS Independence aircraft carrier battle group would be moved into the area and on March 12 the Pentagon announced that a second battle group with the USS Nimitz would also be deployed to the area partially because Chinese intentions were not clear. The first deployment was symbolic and probably perceived as such by the Chinese. The second group meant the U.S. was serious and prepared to engage in war with the Chinese. It was a serious confrontation in which two nuclear powers came into direct conflict. The conflict carried equally serious political messages.
Although neither U.S. battle group actually entered the Taiwan Strait area, staying a few hundred miles away, both were deployed close enough to react if the PLA actually tried to invade or blockade Taiwan. They did engage in electronic warfare by monitoring Chinese tests and exercise activity.
What was most unexpected was the escalation of rhetoric directed not at Taiwan but at each other by China and the United States. The Chinese rhetoric came at three levels: very strident in the Chinese-controlled press in Hong Kong, less strident in official government announcements and conciliatory by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Generally the Chinese military message was that they could, using high-tech warfare, inflict enough damage on the U.S. Navy to cause them to withdraw because the American military would have no support at home. They had studied Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia and Chechnya. The PLA leaders made it clear that they would not retreat if they were called upon to “liberate Taiwan.”
Figure 4—2 Map of Taiwan Area PLA Exercise Areas
On the other hand, the United States also displayed its resolve. Not only did the military show its capability in the area with a wide array of modern weapons, the U.S. Congress, in January and February had placed pressure on President William Clinton to “condemn China’s military intimidation of Taiwan.”360 The U.S. Department of State, like the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed grave concern and cautioned both sides to solve the problem peacefully. The Pentagon was the strongest, pointing out that the U.S. deployments were to “‘make sure there is no miscalculation on the part of the Chinese as to our interest in that area’ and to ‘reassure our friends in the region that we will maintain an interest in both peace and the stability in that region.’”361
The Chinese had two target audiences in mind for the 1996 exercises: the Taiwanese and the Americans. Some have written that the primary effort of the exercises was to prevent President Lee Denghui from being re-elected and therefore it was a failure. The principal rationale behind the exercises for the Taiwanese audience though was to sensitize them that movement toward Taiwan independence was unacceptable and that China had the will and capacity to do serious damage to Taiwan if they persisted. They could punish Taiwan by interrupting all shipping that was vital to island commerce. This was driven home to the Taiwanese when their stock market plummeted right after the missile tests. The result of the demonstration was that the Taiwanese became much more sensitive to the threat. While Lee won re-election, there is no doubt that the issue of Taiwanese independence could no longer be used in a political atmosphere in which the vast majority of Taiwanese favored the status quo. Local factions of the Democratic Progressive Party politicians who ran exclusively on the Taiwan independence platform lost. The PLA successfully took Taiwan independence out of the competing issues for that and future elections. For that reason the military exercises were considered a great success by China.
From a Taiwanese perspective, even though they got the message that China was serious and would not tolerate movement toward independence, they also got a major political message from the United States during the crisis when two U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups were sent into the area and China’s intimidation tactics were condemned by senior U.S. government officials.
The effect on the American target audience was not so successful from China's perspective. Militarily it caused the U.S. Congress to again come to the aid of Taiwan and insist they be reinforced with more weaponry, particularly air defense weapons, and that other means of cooperation be expanded. The 1st Session of the 105th Congress passed House Resolution 2386, the U.S.-Taiwan Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Cooperation Act, on November 6, 1997. It called upon the military to “implement the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act concerning the stability and security of Taiwan and United States cooperation with Taiwan on the development and acquisition of defensive military articles.” Arms sales discussions and intelligence cooperation also increased.
Chinese military leaders also received a clear message. The U.S. deliberate policy of “strategic ambiguity” was no longer so ambiguous. They found a threshold that would provoke the United States to action. The military exercises of 1996 also created a negative response by other nations of the world. While none of them came out to support an increased military role to defend Taiwan, many of them did privately counsel China to exercise restraint. As a result, in 1997 China returned to the earlier policy of solving the Taiwan problem through peaceful means under the slogan of “peaceful reunification.”
One major change in Chinese official statements that occurred at this time was the clarification of the target of the use of force. For the first time a Chinese leader said that the main reason China reserved the right to use force to solve the Taiwan problem was to prevent outsiders from coming to the aid of Taiwan. They reinforced the policy that they would resolve the problem peacefully by themselves and they made clear the only three conditions under which they would use force:362
1. If there is any major incident causing Taiwan to break away from China 2. If there is foreign occupation of Taiwan 3. If Taiwan authorities refuse to negotiate
The Taiwan Strait was generally quiet after the confrontation in 1996. There were an increasing number of incidents between PLA and Taiwan aircraft when they were patrolling the area, but generally both stayed on their own side of an agreed upon line. The PLA did, however, begin to use the new SU-27 fighters they had purchased from the Russians and Taiwan used the new F-16s it had purchased from the United States and Mirage 2000a they had purchased from France. Both sides observed the rules and if they got too close they broke off contact to avoid any serious political incident.
Throughout the period, in fact for more than 40 years, the United States maintained its own independent intelligence-collection reconnaissance flights off the coast of China. The flight path included the Taiwan Strait area between China and Taiwan. The flights were unarmed and known to the PLA Air Force which regularly engaged in “cat and mouse” games in the air. There was a strong feeling by the PLA that the U.S. had no cause, even in international air space to monitor their military activity.
On April 1, 2001 two PLA jet fighter aircraft began to harass an American EP-3 Orion Turbo- prop-driven reconnaissance (signals intelligence) airplane. One of the PLA planes bumped it to the point that the Chinese plane crashed into the sea and killed the pilot. The American plane was damaged and made a forced landing at Lingshui Airport on Hainan Island in Southern China.363 The U.S. plane, labeled a “spy plane” in the U.S. and Chinese press, had a crew of 24 aboard and all were taken into custody by the Chinese. They were treated well, interrogated and released after 12 days of negotiations between the U.S. and China.
The Chinese were able to examine the intelligence equipment and it can be presumed that they gained some new intelligence information about U.S. electronic surveillance. The Chinese refused to allow the U.S. to repair the plane and fly it out of China. They also refused to allow a U.S. airplane into China to pick up the damaged airplane. The U.S. had to disassemble the EP-3 and rent a Russian AN-124 airplane to remove it from China. The task was finished on July 7.
In a press briefing Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld stated that: “Our EP-3 was flying an overt, reconnaissance and surveillance mission in international airspace in an aircraft clearly marked 'United States Navy.’" “It was on a well-known flight path that we had used for decades.”364 This statement made it clear that the U.S. plane was not a “spy plane.”
The incident was caught on videotape and that combined with the instrument data proved that the American plane was on autopilot and did not veer off path. It was clearly the fault of the Chinese pilot who got too close in a jet that was not designed to fly so slowly.365
The important consequences for the larger Taiwan Strait issue is that even though the PLA was completely at fault the Chinese government was able to convince the PLA and the Chinese people that it was totally the American fault. They were able to make the lost pilot a national hero. They were helped by the anti-American atmosphere that had emerged after the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia on May 7, 1999. Nearly all Chinese were convinced that this incident too was a deliberate military attack on the Chinese.366 These incidents facilitate China’s ability to mobilize its citizen’s against the United States in the event of conflict in the Taiwan Strait.
Since the EP-3 incident the Taiwan Strait has been quiet. The rest of this chapter will be devoted to an analysis of the military potential of China, Taiwan and the United States. It will include the threat perceptions as well as the military capabilities and doctrine of all three; an analysis of possible military scenarios for conflict in the Taiwan Strait and finally how the military factor influences the ongoing negotiations for a settlement of the cross strait conflict.
Although the likelihood of military conflict, especially nuclear conflict is now unlikely, we must still examine the military potential of each side to help keep the Taiwan Strait issue in perspective.
Most analyses of the cross strait military confrontation focus on the quantification of troops and weapons. The numbers as well as the quality of weapons systems can provide some indication of the capability of each of the three potential participants: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Taiwan’s Armed Forces and the U.S. Military. This section briefly examines the relative capabilities of each of the three military forces by comparing threat perception, military strategy/doctrine, budget, force structure, weapons/equipment, and military modernization/arms sales. These factors will then be placed into the context of various war fighting scenarios.
Most military planners in each of the three areas (China, Taiwan and the United States) consider both capability and intent before they go into battle. One phenomenon that separates the thought processes of the three sides is that the U.S. usually gives far more weight to capability than intent. China and Taiwan give slightly more value to intent in their planning. This disconnect often creates problems between the U.S. and the other two.
Many discussions about military systems begin with an analysis of “security” or “national security,” which provides a defensive rationale for the type of weapons and size of a military system. In this case it is possible to suggest that the PLA concern is for its own security or at least the security of what they believe to be “national territory.” The same is true for Taiwan. But for the United States the rationale has to be stretched. When it comes to planning an actual campaign in the Taiwan Strait area all three may keep the defensive notion of security in mind, but they actually think in terms of offensive military capability. Even Taiwan has recently discussed the possibility of developing a more offensive-oriented deterrent capability.367
Threat perception is important because it drives the force structures and strategies of the military forces. In the case of a Taiwan Strait conflict the threat perceptions for each participant seem clear: the PLA is confronted with Taiwan’s military and a portion of the U.S. military. Taiwan and the United States see the PLA as the adversary.368 In actuality it is far more complicated.
China has been able to demonize certain elements in Taiwan as key enemies of the Chinese people. Anyone who contributes to “splittist” activity or separatist activity that leads to Taiwan independence is labeled “a separatist force.” The rhetoric for identifying the enemy is often personalized as in the case of Taiwan's Presidents Li Tenghui and Chen Shuibian. They also view the United States as a potential enemy because a broad range of statements by American leaders (especially the U.S. Congress) and many past actions (show of force in the Taiwan Strait and arms sales to Taiwan) that seems to them to encourage the separatist activity. In most official statements this identification of the enemy comes out in statements like the one in Jiang Zemin’s report to the 16th Party Congress when he said:
We will work in utmost sincerity and do all we can to strive for a peaceful reunification. Our position of never undertaking to renounce the use of force is not directed at our Taiwan compatriots. It is aimed at the foreign forces' attempts to interfere in China's reunification and the Taiwan separatist forces' schemes for "Taiwan independence.
At first glance it appears as though defining the threat to Taiwan is relatively simple. There is no question about which country is the principal perceived threat. But why China is still the threat and how the threat may be applied requires more analysis.
The main problem is that not everyone in Taiwan agrees about the threat. The Nationalist Party (KMT) generally sees the People’s Republic of China as an ideological threat which threatens the historical and cultural continuity of the Chinese nation. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) generally agrees that the PRC is a threat, but they point out that Taiwan has changed so much that historical and cultural continuity are not so important. Some of them also believe the PRC would not or could not follow through with threats to take Taiwan by force.
Both sides believe the PRC is using more than the threat of military attack to realize its goal of reunification. They point out attempts by the PRC to isolate Taiwan in the world economically and politically. Citizens place increasing pressures on the government to protect the interests of Taiwan. Parts of the DPP believe it might be possible to declare independence and hope for world opinion and support from the United States to prevent any military attack.
The KMT and the DPP agree, however, on the seriousness with which the PRC takes Taiwan. They note that reunification with Taiwan is written into the Chinese Constitution. They recall the crisis of 1995/1996 in which the People’s Liberation Army launched missiles toward Taiwan to let the people of Taiwan know they are serious and that Taiwan independence is not an option.
Most politicians and officials in Taiwan agree that the principal threat from the PRC is more than military, but that the military balance is still an important component. A critical point is that the nature of potential warfare is viewed differently in both Taiwan and China from perspectives found in the US. Taiwan’s military leaders believe that military action might indeed be taken against Taiwan but the results that would be sought by China would be political or economic more than military. The main goal would be to drive Taiwan's leaders to the negotiations table, not to destroy Taiwan.
For example, if Taiwan declared independence, and China initiated military action it would not likely entail an invasion and even less likely a severe bombardment with any type of weapons of mass destruction. They believe conflict would probably start with a naval blockade designed to prevent shipping and harm Taiwan’s economic status. The logic would be that to squeeze Taiwan would cause unrest within Taiwan and force the leaders to reach a political solution as early as possible. There is a school of thought in China in which military leaders want a very quick and decisive attack on Taiwan's leaders, military and command and control facilities. The idea is to
achieve a quick surrender on the part of Taiwan before the U.S. can react to the situation.
Taiwan’s primary perception then of a military threat for which it must prepare includes a range of military actions that would have severe political or economic consequences and those do not necessarily equate to the type of weapons or threats that would be designed to destroy Taiwan’s military or kill its people. Other than the above-mentioned threat, Taiwan has no other significant threat against which it must prepare.
Admiral Dennis Blair, US Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces in testimony to Congress in 2000 explicitly identified China as a potential adversary in the future for a number of reasons: the rapid military modernization process, the proliferation record, and the military threats against Taiwan.
When we consider American threat perceptions in Northeast Asia, it is necessary to go far beyond just a threat to American territory. Not only are threats to US troops in Asia important, but so too are threats to American allies because the United States considers its commitments to the security of other nations or regions, like Japan, Korea and Taiwan, to be an integral part of its own security.
Since the United States currently has an overwhelming superiority in military weapons systems, threat perceptions take on a slightly different color from that of other nations. There is little danger of a direct invasion of the United States mainland, but there is still a threat of military attack into countries with which the US has a formal mutual defense agreement. In Northeast Asia it includes the US-Republic of Korea Alliance, the US-Japan security alliance, and the commitment to Taiwan, based upon theTaiwan Relations Act, in the event of an unprovoked attack. There is also the danger of asymmetrical warfare acts being increased using terrorist attacks around the world and within the United States.
The United States is concerned about any type of regional instability because in today's world of global economic interdependence a secure international environment is a prerequisite to economic progress. This is a point upon which most countries, including China and Taiwan, agree so the likelihood of an inadvertent war is not high. That means that new types of conflict are viewed as serious future dangers.
Tactically the US sees two types of military capability as being a threat to American military power: information warfare and missiles. Information warfare and its characteristics have still not been completely defined. Basically, it is the threat of disruption of American intelligence and command and control systems that depend so much on computers and satellites. Information warfare also includes political or economic activity with computers from a distance. It is clear that such warfare will include not only doing damage to a potential adversary's armed forces it will also be able to harm his economic system by disrupting bank or monetary transactions. This is an issue that will become increasingly important in the future. It is also a threat that both China and Taiwan are beginning to see as important and practice for.
The missile threat is real as China improves its missile capability. Not only are there nearly 1,000 short range ballistic missiles that can reach Taiwan, there are about 20 nuclear- capable intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the United States. China also has effective anti- ship missiles and is working on anti-satellite missiles.
At the behest of Congress, the Department of Defense reports regularly on the military strength of China. One example is the one dated July 28, 2003. The evolution of China's capability is evident. It is clear that the PLA is making progress toward a more modernized military that could threaten the U.S. military in new ways (described in more detail below).
The most important characteristic of Chinese military doctrine is that it is not exclusively military. Any attack on Taiwan will be a comprehensive attack that includes political and psychological intimidation, economic coercion, and several forms of internal subversion and sabotage.
General PLA doctrine is defensive in nature. It is formally called active defense or high tech local warfare. What that means is that the Chinese military is not structured nor does it have the appropriate weapons, equipment or logistics system to carry out warfare far beyond its own borders. Further it is not developing a long-range lift capability similar to that of the United States. PLA leaders are, however, working to develop the capability to handle potential aggressors at their borders in “local” or “regional” conflicts. They want to use high tech and better, more modern mobility to avoid the old strategy of “luring the enemy in deep” into China’s territory.
This evolution in Chinese strategic doctrine has, of course, had an impact on tactics, force structure, weapons and equipment. PLA military leaders have examined modern warfare in great detail. They are fully aware of what has been called the “Revolution in Military Affairs.”370 Their evolving military strategy and doctrine envisages an ability to strike quickly with highly mobile and sophisticated electronic equipment and weapons systems. They are developing the means
necessary to compete on a modern digitized battlefield in which information is a key factor in success.
The PLA has not abandoned the notion of People’s War as part of its military doctrine although it has evolved significantly into what is called People’s War under Modern Conditions. They still promote the notion that if they were attacked by an outside power, the total population would be mobilized to defeat the aggressor. The major changes from Chairman Mao’s notions of People’s War are the result of improved technology in making weapons, communications and mobility more efficient. Overall, PLA strategic doctrine continues to include fundamental principles of war, such as surprise, as discussed in Sun Tzu’s Art of War. There are some changes from Chairman Mao’s notions of guerrilla warfare though, which emphasized positional warfare and defending cities. The new doctrine also introduces the idea of deterrence through retaliation and that includes a nuclear deterrent capability.
The PLA is modernizing its forces to be able to respond rapidly to any military threat but the highest priority of all is the Taiwan Strait area. PLA planners know that not only will they have to cope with Taiwan’s military; they will also have to plan to deal with America’s military. That means a more efficient Navy, Air Force and missile corps. It also includes the development of an amphibious capability, joint operations coordination, special-operations paratroopers and frogmen. It includes new anti-satellite weapons, electronic jamming and counter-measures. Finally, a special emphasis is placed on missiles and information warfare. Nuclear capability is considered, but not as a high priority.
Most important, there is specific PLA doctrine and strategy that emphasizes high tech warfare designed just for the Taiwan situation. The doctrine is not static and is evolving as the strategic environment changes. An understanding of this doctrine/strategy will help explain potential scenarios below.
US evaluation of PLA doctrine highlights two important approaches to future fighting:371
.The PLA’s “Three Attacks and Three Defenses”( 三打三防 ) air defense training concentrates on attacking stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and helicopters, while defending against precision strikes, electronic warfare, and enemy reconnaissance.
. In 2001, PLA training emphasized maritime and amphibious operations, integrating conventional ground units with marines, airborne, and special operations forces. Exercises included more combat units improving the PLA’s abilities to deploy and sustain its forces.
Taiwan’s military strategy and doctrine have changed over the years. It is important to note that like the PRC, Taiwan proclaims simple slogans to describe their general strategy. They have gone through three different doctrines:
1. 1950s – 1960s Counterattack the Mainland (反攻大陸) 2. 1970s -- 1980s Offense-Defense Together (攻守一体) 3. 1990s --Defense only (專守防衛)
During the first period Taiwan had a military force of over 600,000 and many of the leaders believed the people of the mainland would soon realize that Communism was bad and that they could counterattack at some point. They believed that the combination of an improved army and a well-planned and coordinated uprising within China, stimulated by their political warfare effort, could be a formula for success. The key component of their strategy was to count on their ability to inspire insurrection from within. It was in fact a form of people’s war.
In the early 1970s Taiwan’s military leaders began to reexamine their strategy and decided to introduce more realistic expectations into their calculations. They noted that if during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution the people of China still did not turn to Taiwan for help, the strategy of totally relying on those people would not work. They then initiated their strategy that looked at pockets within the mainland and decided that they could find a balance between a strong defense of Taiwan and attacks into key areas of China if weaknesses were perceived. But they would still count on local support inside China.
Finally, in the early 1990s Taiwan began to focus solely on the protection of Taiwan. They too were aware of the Revolution in Military Affairs, and recognized that future warfare would be characterized by highly mobile and highly technical combat activities. During that time the overall government political focus became more and more on the development of Taiwan and that meant the military had to spend more time thinking about protecting the Taiwan economic miracle than about “liberating” the people of mainland China.
Basic military doctrine is now totally defensive even at the expense of forgoing provocative or preemptive strikes of any kind. 372 It does include deterrence in a retaliatory mode or the capability to inflict enough damage on China to make China think it would not be worth the attack. It also includes strategies to counter a potential blockade.
The central question that comes up when Taiwan’s military leaders begin to plan their strategy or doctrine is the degree to which they can depend on support from the US. They must include that factor into their plans because without U.S. support they could not last very long. At present the leaders understand that the US is not likely to commit ground troops to any combat between mainland China and Taiwan. Even the use of the US Air Force is unlikely. The US has provided indications that they might send aircraft carriers in to intervene in the event of hostilities, but in that case the role played by the US would be to stop the fighting… not to help Taiwan in the war.
Taiwan’s military planners do, however, have some reason to expect support in a period immediately prior to the outbreak of hostilities if a potential mainland attack were slow to develop. The type of support they might expect would be help in upgrading their weapons systems, intelligence support and moral support on the world political stage.
Taiwan’s military leaders understand the nature of their Chinese opponent. They understand that they cannot allow a quick victory. Therefore their doctrine stresses delay. If the PLA is not able to win quickly and decisively Taiwan’s leaders believe they can appeal for help from the rest of the world. They want to be able to frustrate any missile or air attack with their own missile defenses and air superiority. One of their first responses would be to make sure all the activity would be reported in the world press with appropriate victim’s comments.
In short, we can say that Taiwan’s military strategy is currently a mirror image of that of the PRC. It is basically defensive in nature, although preemptive strikes are not ruled out. Their main priority is to prevent a quick defeat. They want to develop capabilities to handle a high tech local war and they, like the PRC, will continue to evolve their strategies and doctrines as new weapons systems come into their inventory; some from purchasing arms and some from local design and development.
U.S. military doctrine is the most difficult to describe. It is best-described in the Quadrennial Defense Review Report that was issued on September 30, 2001.373 The report states that the United States is:
Moving to a capabilities-based force also requires the United States to focus on emerging opportunities that certain capabilities, including advanced remote sensing, long-range precision strike, transformed maneuver and expeditionary forces and systems, to overcome anti-access and area denial threats, can confer on the U.S. military over time. .. . . exploiting U.S. advantages in superior technological innovation; its unmatched space and intelligence capabilities; its sophisticated military training; and its ability to integrate highly distributed military forces in synergistic combinations for highly complex joint military operations.
U.S. military doctrine can best be described as being based on superior technology. It is also dynamic and regional, although many general principles prevail. It states that the U.S. must be able to project power over long ranges “to deter threats to the United States and, when necessary, to disrupt, deny, or destroy hostile entities at a distance.”374 Part of this thought is to maintain close military alliances and security relationships with other countries.
In the case of the Taiwan Strait, U.S. doctrine will emphasize naval activity for obvious reasons. The main thrust of the forward based defenses will be centered in aircraft carrier battlegroups as we have seen before. The carrier battlegroups will establish areas that may be several hundred miles from the main action. These areas will be selected because the U.S. Navy will be able to use advanced information and targeting systems to effectively defend the areas against any access by enemy ships or submarines or weapons such as airplanes, cruise missiles or ballistic missiles. This standoff force, using advanced space systems for surveillance, tracking and rapid engagement with precision strikes in all types of weather, is intended to have the capability to prevent any effort to invade, or even harass, Taiwan. Using the lessons of Bosnia and Iraq, the U.S. Navy expects to be able to fight a non-casualty war and be able to inflict unacceptable damage on China to deter it from the use of force.
All three sides then are emphasizing high-tech warfare and as of 2003 the U.S. has a seemingly insurmountable lead. Not only is the lead overwhelming, the gap is increasing as the U.S. invests far more in research and development than the other two. There is little doubt that in the future all three sides will be able to cause some damage to their opponents, but for the next twenty years, the U.S. will have the edge.
Using the defense spending budget as an indicator of Chinese intentions or capabilities has proven to be almost impossible for a wide variety of reasons.375 The United States has by far the largest defense budget, followed by China and then Taiwan. The disparity between the three allows us to make only a general conclusion about the nature of future defense preparedness by all three. While there are innumerable ways to examine defense budgets this study will use only three simple statistics to make the point; how much is spent in a single recent year by each of the three.376
Figure 4—3 Comparative Defense Budgets: China, Taiwan, United States 2007 (in US $ billions)
Defense analysts and scholars nearly always include budget statistics in their analyses to try to understand capability and intent, but they vary widely in their presentation of Chinese defense spending statistics. The only thing they agree upon is that the actual spending is more than official government figures. The range is from 1.5 to 15 times more.380 This means that Chinese budget figures are not very useful in predicting Chinese intent or capabilities. Even if the percentage of Gross Domestic Product or percentage increases are included in an analysis the figures are still not meaningful.381
The value of defense budget figures is even less useful in scenarios about the Taiwan Strait. While nearly all of Taiwan’s defense budget is to prepare for a confrontation in the Taiwan Strait, only a portion of the Chinese and American budgets are earmarked for that purpose. On the other hand, we can say that nearly the entire Chinese budget, and now some of the American budget, is to prepare for a potential war between the two. The principal criterion for channeling money into China’s defense modernization is to build a capability to cope with the United States if they interfere in a military solution to the Taiwan issue. The U.S. budget, until September 2001, was designed primarily to handle the most capable potential adversary, China; and the most likely point of conflict would be in the Taiwan Strait.382 After 9/11 the US has focused more on the War on Terrorism which means smaller more mobile independent forces.
Comparing the three defense budgets can only lead to a general conclusion that the U.S. is likely to maintain a considerable superiority in military power for at least the next twenty years and probably beyond. American innovativeness also contributes to the maintenance of the current military lead. The gap is likely to increase no matter how much China decides to spend on defense modernization.
The concept of “comprehensive security”, often used by the Chinese, is important to this task of linking factors and finding a solution. Comprehensive security means a combination of all the factors that contribute to national strength. It can include the size and strength of the industrial base and its ability to support the military in a prolonged war, or it can include political considerations that add to national strength, such as the national will to fight a war.384
Quantitative and qualitative statistics are often the center of analyses of the cross strait military factor. Usually analysts focus on what is called the “military balance” and usually the analysis assumes a direct invasion scenario. Figure 4.4 shows there are some major imbalances in combat power. The Chinese military far outnumbers Taiwan in personnel as well as conventional weapons systems. The United States has a significant advantage when critical advanced conventional weapons systems, like aircraft carriers, advanced submarines, missile forces and air power, are considered. When nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them are added to the mix, the same situation exists: the Chinese have an overwhelming superiority over Taiwan (400-450 nuclear warheads to none) and the U.S. has an overwhelming superiority over China (6,000 to 400-450). China has the capability to quickly destroy Taiwan if there were no concern about the number of civilian casualties. The U.S. could effectively destroy China if civilian casualties were not considered. In an unlimited, no holds barred, war, Taiwan could not expect to survive without U.S. assistance.
Figure 4—4 China, Taiwan, United States -- Defense Statistics385
The military balance problem is as simple as that . . . given a total war direct invasion scenario. Obviously there are critical restraints that must be considered. First, based upon stated doctrine and strategies, a direct invasion of Taiwan, especially one using nuclear weapons, is very improbable. The Chinese are highly unlikely to consider nuclear weapons against Taiwan since they would be killing those they propose to “liberate.” They have a genuine concern for preventing civilian casualties. The only likely use of nuclear weapons would be against the United States Navy and then only in extreme desperation since China has an expressed “no first use” policy and most of its leaders understand the potential consequences of certain and unacceptable destruction in a U.S. retaliatory attack.
Secondly, conventional weapons systems that currently exist in the inventories of each side vary widely in effectiveness. American target surveillance and acquisition equipment is far superior to that of the Chinese. Airplanes, like the (B-2) stealth bomber, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles are all at least two generations ahead of the Chinese. They have a longer range and can penetrate defenses more easily. Even the actual munitions to be delivered are far more advanced. Not only are American bombs and missiles more accurate, they are more powerful. Bunker buster bombs, for example, can penetrate defenses heretofore impregnable. When the new technologies of air defense are calculated in, America’s strategic superiority is clear . . . and the Chinese know it.386 The Chinese witnessed American technology in the Gulf War easily destroying weapons systems that had been sold by China to Iraq. The 2002 War in Iraq reinforced even more what they already knew.
All of this means we must be very careful when we compare military balances. Not only must the capability of the militaries be compared, we must also examine the scenarios in which the equipment might be used. Before we examine war fighting scenarios, however, we must mention briefly the dynamics of weapons systems change. Today, there is a major technological gap between the United States and China, and that gap is expanding, not closing. Nonetheless, it is possible for the Chinese to suddenly develop a new weapons system, which could close the gap in specific areas. For example, a capability to destroy American spy satellites with laser rays could make American missiles less accurate by neutralizing guidance systems.
In short, comparisons of the total numbers of military forces and equipment are relatively meaningless in the limited Taiwan Strait situation. It is important, however, to understand the context of total military forces and the direction of military development before we examine likely combat scenarios.
China is confronted with the classic security dilemma in its modernization efforts. The more and quicker it modernizes, the more it is perceived as a potential threat by its neighbors and by the United States. It has to balance its efforts.
The Taiwan Strait issue is the highest, but not the only, priority in Chinese military modernization efforts. While Chinese military leaders insist on the broad development of military capabilities, priority is given to preparation for a potential Taiwan Strait conflict with the United States. That means the acquisition of such systems as anti-satellite missiles to reduce American surveillance and targeting superiority, ballistic and cruise missiles capable of penetrating aircraft carrier battle group defenses, air defense systems, information technology devices to improve Chinese intelligence collection and ways to improve mobility.
The Chinese are looking to the future. They study the Revolution in Military Affairs and all sorts of new weapons systems including: laser, ultra-high frequency, ultrasonic wave, electromagnetic pulse, microwave, particle beam, subsonic wave and stealth weapons.388
The Chinese take two approaches to closing the technological gap: develop new weapons themselves and procure items from outside China. They do both. The Chinese have not shown much of an ability to innovate since the compass and gun powder, but who is to say that the new generation of scientists, many of whom are trained to very high levels in the best American universities, will not invent an effective weapon of the future. They talk of developing an "assassin's mace" – a weapons system designed to be hidden until used and when used it is designed to bring America to its knees.389 Once China’s brilliant scientists, and there are many, understand what can be accomplished, they can find ways to do it even without the blueprints.390
China’s weakness in the past has not been in the inability to build a major prototype advanced bomb or missile. The weakness has been in not being able to mass produce such items. Applied engineering skills on a large scale have been lacking.
To date most of China’s indigenous weapons systems have been copies of older generation Russian equipment. China military research and development has long suffered from compartmentation and isolation from the users. Nonetheless they have produced some excellent low tech weapons such as assault rifles and machine guns. They have also developed nuclear warheads and a variety of short to long-range missiles as well as cruise missiles.391
One of the most important weapons for the Taiwan Strait has been the DF-15 or M-9 short range ballistic missile.392 The reason this indigenously produced weapon is important is because it illustrates Chinese thinking about use and development priorities. The DF-15 has a range of about 200 to 500 kilometers so Taiwan is within range. It was the missile used in the 1995-1996 missile exercises. Even if this weapon, which was mass produced fairly quickly, is not very accurate yet, it has fulfilled its purpose: political intimidation. The fact that the PLA was able to land a few missiles within several miles of Taiwan’s key ports allowed China to make its point – that it was serious and capable of making a response to movement toward Taiwan independence. China has also purchased some weapons systems or technologies from Russia and other countries.393 Between the years 1994-2001 the PRC purchased $8 billion in arms from outside the country. In the year 2001 alone, the PRC took delivery of $2.2 billion in arms.394
Early acquisition efforts included the whole range of weapons and weapons support systems from anti-tank missile guidance and other munitions technologies to night vision and armor- ceramics technology for the land battlefield. In the air the range has also been broad from air- refueling technology to aerial surveillance and aerodynamic technologies. Submarine, torpedo and other ship technologies have also been the target of search. The highest priority has been given to the acquisition of all forms of communications and electronic technologies, to include global positioning satellite and jamming devices.
During the 1980s China sent hundreds of scientists and PLA officials all over the world to make contact with foreign governments and private companies. During those missions the participants were careful to take good notes and to report on the research and development processes. They also asked questions about the producers of capital equipment used to produce military items. In some cases they appeared to the companies they visited to be potential big customers. In most cases though, they were just collecting information. The acquisition process has also included obtaining U.S. weapons lost in Vietnam, purchase of individual items on the international market and then reverse engineering them, and entering joint venture contracts with foreign producers with the understanding that they will eventually get the blueprints of the item. The last priority for China has been to buy large numbers of any weapons system for use by the PLA.395
After they sifted through the mountains of information and trying to develop many items, some of which were successful, they also agreed to purchase those things they could not successfully produce. One of the most important decisions for the Taiwan Strait issue was the purchase of forty- six SU-27 jet fighters from Russia in 1991 and 1995.396 The deal ultimately included joint production of as many as 200 additional fighters in China.
The reason this deal was important was because it was perceived to upset the balance of air power in the Taiwan Strait. With such modern and capable fighters the Taiwanese could no longer maintain air superiority and that was considered by military analysts a critical factor in the early and total defense of Taiwan. This deal caused US military and state department officials to rationalize an increase in sales of military aircraft to Taiwan. In September 1992, President George Bush announced, during his reelection campaign at an aircraft plant in Texas, that the U.S. would sell F-16s to China.
The second major acquisition by China that also had an impact on the Taiwan Strait balance was the purchase of four Sovremenny Class Missile Destroyers from Russia.397 These ships, when added to the Chinese Navy, provide a major advance in sea warfare capabilities. The package includes modern anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles as well as an antisubmarine helicopter. While they would add significantly to China’s ability to enforce a naval blockade, they could also challenge U.S. Navy aircraft carrier groups with the SS-N-22 Sunburn (3M-80E Moskit) supersonic anti-ship missile.398 They can carry advanced cruise missiles and missiles which can be made nuclear. These ships were purchased partially in response to China’s inability to counter the U.S. aircraft carrier groups that were deployed in the 1995/1996 missile exercise crisis. More important, the purchase has spawned a response in the U.S. which included the sale of American Kidd Class and Aegis Class destroyers to Taiwan.
Another means, other than building Taiwan’s defense capability, by which the U.S. tries to prevent China from developing an advantage in the Taiwan Strait is to pressure other states to not sell particularly useful items to China. For example, in 2000 Israel concluded a contract to sell an airborne early warning radar system to China. The U.S., based partially on its preoccupation with air superiority in the Taiwan Strait, persuaded Israel not to sell it.399
Taiwan too is concerned with military modernization to prevent a sudden invasion by China. Its defensive doctrine establishes three mission priorities that determine the type of weapons systems needed and the force structure of the military:400
Taiwan too uses two approaches to the acquisition of weapons, technology and support items: indigenous development and purchase from abroad. Since Taiwan is a major center for the production of electronic items, as might be expected, it produces some items, but the most advanced electronic systems are purchased from the United States.
The two main criteria for Taiwan’s weapons acquisition are: (1) items that are high tech and can prevent a quick Chinese win and (2) items that tie Taiwan either politically or logistically to the seller.401 Indigenous weapons development in Taiwan has not been particularly successful. While they have been able to develop some defensive missile systems, generally they rely on outside sources for nearly all critical military equipment.402
Taiwan is one of the few countries of the world that made a conscious choice to not develop nuclear weapons even after it had the capability to do so.403 The decision was based primarily on extreme pressure from the United States, but there was some realization within Taiwan that militarily it made little sense. Since Taiwan was such a small target with dense population, a nuclear exchange could only mean suicide for Taiwan. Further the costs of nuclear development outweighed the potential gain in deterrence value. A third reason during that time frame was that the U.S. had stationed nuclear weapons on Taiwan’s soil and the relationship with the American military, almost as close as lips and teeth, provided Taiwan with a strong sense of security.404
Weapons acquisitions from abroad have had mixed success. Basically, the U.S. is by far the principal seller to Taiwan having contracted for U.S. $20.7 billion during the eight-year period from 1994 to 2001.405 Beyond direct sales of complete weapons systems, the U.S. has also helped with some training, planning and technology. This was especially true in the development of Taiwan’s only production military airplane; the indigenous defense fighter (IDF).406 This IDF jet fighter (named Chingkuo after the former president) was developed by and manufactured by the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation based in Taichung, Taiwan, but some help came from U.S. firms providing sub-components and advice.
Figure 4-5 lists all major sales contracts between 1990 and 2002. There were numerous additional transactions at lower cost levels. The list of items shows that the US has provided relatively advanced military weapons and communications systems. Most of them are clearly defensive in nature, but some also appear to be offensive in nature, such as tanks and amphibious assault vehicles, but generally all the equipment is compatible with ground defense plans. It is important to note that in addition to the weapons or communications systems there are separate logistics and training sales that help to maintain a close relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. supplier. Because of Taiwan’s geography as an island with rugged mountains, it is clear that with the advanced weapons systems they now possess it would be extremely costly for China to conduct any type of land invasion.
France, the second largest foreign seller to Taiwan, sold six Lafayette Class missile frigates and sixty Mirage 2000 jet fighters to Taiwan.407 France has now reduced its sales to almost nothing because of pressure from China. Finally the Netherlands sold two submarines to Taiwan but were unable to continue sales because of Chinese political and economic pressures.
Since 1979 arms sales to Taiwan have been based on three official documents: The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), P.L. 96-8, the “six assurances” provided by President Reagan to Taiwan (July 1982) and the U.S.-China Joint Communiqué ( August 17, 1982). From 1990 to 2007 the U.S. provided $22.23 (USD) billion worth of defensive military items and training.
Shirley Kan’s 2007 report goes into much detail about the sales. It includes problems that developed between Taiwan and the U.S. because some in the U.S. believed Taiwan was not doing enough to defend itself. It had become a major issue within Taiwan’s government and many sales were delayed. In fact, the U.S. made statements to the Taiwanese that they should buy more arms. The degree to which those statements were motivated by a sincere, but narrowly military, perspective that the weapons or services offered could indeed contribute to a “balance” across the Strait is open to question. Some would argue that the lobbyists of the U.S. military leaders to buy more from the U.S. This is an academic question that needs to be examined in more detail.
Military items and services have been transferred to Taiwan under four separate programs:
(1) Government-to-Government Foreign Military Sales
(2) commercial exports under Depart of State license under Arms Export Control Act (3) sales under Excess Defense Articles Program (4) leased under Excess Defense Articles Program.
It is useful to view the exports and services in one chart to gain an understanding of the type and scope… and to see the defensive characteristics of the items.
Figure 4— 5 US Arms Sales and Services Contracts with Taiwan408
Item or Service
Value ($ million)
One C-130H Transport Plane
100 MK-46 Torpedoes (Anti-submarine only)
97 SM-1 Air Defense Missiles
110 M60A3 Tanks
Upgrade Kits for HAWK Air Defense Systems
Weapons/Ammo for 3 Leased Ships
Logistics Support Arrangement
207 SM-1 Air Defense Missiles
150 F16A/B Fighter Planes
6 PAC-2 Patriot Air Defense Systems
12 SH-2F LAMPS Anti-submarine Helicopters
12 C-130H Transport Planes
Logistics Support Arrangement
38 Harpoon Anti-ship Missiles
Logistics Support for 40 Least T-38 Trainer Planes
4 E-2T Airborne Early Warning Planes
Logistics Support for PAC-2 Air Defense Systems
150 MK-46 Torpedoes
Weapons/Ammo for 3 Leased Frigates
MK-41 Ship-based Air Defense Missile Launch Systems
80 Electronic Countermeasure Pods
Logistics Support Arrangement
6 MK-75 Shipboard Gun Systems
Logistics Support Arrangement
Improved Mobile Communications System
30 TH-67 Training Helicopters
465 Stinger Missiles w/55 Launcher Systems
300 M60A3TTS Tanks
1,299 Stinger Missiles 2/74 Launcher Systems and 96 Vehicles
110 MK-46 Mod 5 Anti-submarine Torpedoes
54 Harpoon Anti-ship Missiles
1,786 TOW 2A Anti-tank Guided Missiles w/launchers
21 AH-1W Super Cobra Attack Helicopters
13 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Armed Scout Helicopters
Pilot Training and Logistics Support for 5-16 Fighter Planes
Spare Parts for Various Aircraft
3 Knox-class Frigates w/15
Phalanx Close-in AA Systems
28 Navigation/targeting Pods for F- 16 Fighter Planes
58 Anti-ship Harpoon Missiles
31 Stinger Missiles
131 MK-46 Mod 5(A) Anti-submarine Torpedoes
9 Ch-47SD Chinook Transport Helicopters
240 AGM-114KS Hellfire II Air-to-surface Missiles
5 Radio Systems, 5 Electronic
Warfare Systems w/vehicles
2 E-2T Hawkeye 2000E Airborne
Early Warning Planes
Modernization of Air Defense
39 Navigation/Targeting Pods for F-16 Fighter Planes
48 Electronic Countermeasure Pods for F-16 Fighter Planes
146 M109A5 Howitzers w/152
200 AMRAAM Air-to-air Missiles for F-16 Figher Planes
71 Anti-ship Harpoon Missiles
Improved Communications System
50 Air-Sea-Ground Data Link Systems
40 Maverick Air-to-ground Missiles for F-16 Fighter Planes
40 Javelin Anti-tank Missile Systems
Logistical Support and Spare Parts
3 Air Traffic Control Radars
54 AAV7A1 Assault Amphibious Vehicles
Logistics Support/Spare Parts for Aircraft and other systems
182 Sidewinder Air-to-air Missiles
449 Hellfire II Anti-tank Missiles for Helicopters
(290) TOW-2B anti-tank missiles
(4) Kidd-class destroyers
Multi-functional Information Distribution Systems (for Po Sheng C4ISR data link upgrades)
(2) Ultra High Frequency Long Range Early Warning Radars
(10) AIM-9M Sidewinder and (5) AIM-7M Sparrow air- to-air missiles; continuation of pilot training and logistics support for F-16 fighters at Luke AFB, AZ
(218) AMRAAMs and (235) Maverick air-to-ground missiles for F-16 fighters
From a Mainland perspective one of the most important items in the sales to Taiwan list is one in the future: Theater Missile Defense (TMD). The U.S. has been supplying air defense missiles to China since the 1950s when the only serious threat was from Chinese airplanes. In the new environment where cruise and ballistic missiles have become even more important as a threat than airplanes, the nature of air defense has changed. This upgrade in capability is similar in philosophy to that of the F-16 sale described above. The Taiwan Relations Act requires the U.S. military to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character if China threatens. China’s deployment and demonstration of M-9 missiles in the Taiwan Strait satisfies that requirement. But this situation is also more political than military in character.
The initial impetus to obtain TMD came from the Taiwanese opposition party at the time (early 1990s), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The DPP decided that a useful issue would be that the incumbent Nationalist Party (KMT) was not doing enough to protect the citizens of Taiwan because they were not actively seeking TMD. Some scholars in the U.S. and Taiwan opposed Taiwan’s inclusion in a TMD system.409 The military, which at that time was completely controlled by the KMT, had determined that TMD was not useful for Taiwan. Not only was it unproven, it would become a costly money pit.410 Further, with China’s capability to build large numbers of short-range ballistic missiles, it would not take too much effort to overwhelm any anti-missile defense. For practical military reasons the military did not want to seek TMD from the United States. But the KMT recognized that this could become a political issue and decided to co-opt it. They began to talk about the need to obtain TMD.411 They had many allies in the U.S. Congress who supported them as became clear in the 1997 U.S.-Taiwan Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Cooperation Act.
Once Taiwan began to ask for a TMD capability they discovered that there could be some solid benefits to the process. While the discussions were about a stand-alone capability, the topic of an East Asia missile defense architecture that would extend from the Aleutian Islands, through Japan and Taiwan to the Philippines emerged. If there were a war with China, and Taiwan had some form of TMD, it would take very little to integrate Taiwan into the system.412 The potential for Taiwan to be integrated into a defensive alliance against China is a political statement and that is precisely what the Chinese objected to. Any sale of TMD to Taiwan was viewed as another step in closer political relations between Taiwan and the United States and a move that could make Taiwanese independence advocates feel more secure and ready to take more risks in a movement toward independence.
China has done more than just protest the developing dialogue on TMD. The topic has been included as a constant complaint by China in nearly all arms control and nonproliferation discussions.413 It emerges in two ways that ultimately have an impact on U.S. -- China relations. First, whenever the U.S. accuses China of proliferating to other countries like Pakistan, Iran or Iraq, Chinese representatives issue a counter-accusation against the United States for selling arms to Taiwan. Since missiles, as a delivery means for weapons of mass destruction, are included in most nonproliferation talks, they are able to include the transfer of missile technology to Taiwan as part of the rationale for being against TMD to Taiwan.414 TMD is also considered, by Chinese, as an integral part of the American National Missile Defense (NMD) and they formally opposed the U.S. policy of abrogating the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty with Russia and the deployment of NMD. The sale of TMD to Taiwan as part of the arms sales program is a major political irritant in
Overall, Taiwan has been able to acquire enough weapons from foreign sources to maintain air superiority and a significant presence at sea. While it is no match for China in the long run; especially if China were willing to kill Taiwanese civilians, take serious losses and accept protracted warfare, it has been able to present a defense capability that makes Chinese planners be cautious. But there is no doubt that ultimate survival depends on support from the United States.
One aspect of Chinese military planning that is seldom discussed by Western analysts or scholars is the role of political warfare in improving combat effectiveness as a force multiplier.415 China and Taiwan both have a comprehensive political warfare system within their militaries. The United States does not. China and Taiwan both have senior-officer level political warfare academies. The United States does not.
Political warfare plays a critical role in Chinese and Taiwanese military planning. At the most basic level political warfare is the explicit consideration of the political goals and potential political consequences of every military action. Every written tactical battle plan includes a political warfare annex. The American plan includes an intelligence annex that includes some of the same information, but they are different in the way they integrate political factors.
Vietnam provides an example of incorporating political warfare into a battle plan. When the Viet Cong attacked a hill, the main purpose was often not to kill American troops or even to capture the terrain. It was to make the front page of the New York Times. American officers never understood this approach to warfare and ultimately it is part of what defeated them.
Understanding China's and Taiwan’s approach to political warfare and how it differs from an American approach to combat is critical to an understanding of how various scenarios might play out in the Taiwan Strait. Just knowing that nearly all Chinese military actions are designed more for the political consequences than for military results will help to predict future military actions and to prevent serious miscalculations in a future conflict. It is especially important in understanding motivations and actions at the beginning of a conflict to prevent too rapid an escalation. Political warfare approaches have a profound impact on war fighting scenarios.
Political warfare efforts prior to a conflict often provide clarity to the rationale for the conflict for a military’s own troops and for opposing forces by rationalizing the military policies that lead to conflict. An example is a Central Military Commission document in 1999 which purports to be a basis for PLA action to recover Taiwan.416 While this document has been judged to be false, nonetheless it is still a good example of this type of political warfare effort and the type of language used to indoctrinate ones own troops, especially the officers.
Scenarios are conjured up by military planners to provide a basis for the development of force structure, weapons systems and specialized tactics/strategies to be used in a particular situation. This process of scenario development is heavily influenced by the basic approach to military planning. The Chinese and Taiwanese give more weight to the intent and American planners give more weight to the capability of enemy forces and the result is a different scenario perspective.417 This critical mindset difference influences not only what is conceived for one’s own forces, but what is anticipated from enemy forces. Neither Chinese nor Americans include land warfare on the Asian continent by American forces in any scenario. Some American military analysts have developed scenarios in which China invades Taiwan with paratrooper and amphibious troops using a flotilla of naval ships and commercial boats. Some of these scenarios were developed to rationalize sales of particular weapons systems to Taiwan. Realistic scenarios, however, are focused on naval and air power in the Taiwan Strait area.418Generally strategists see three types of scenarios:419
1. A blitz attack using air power, missiles and Special Forces to win a quick victory. 2. naval blockade accompanied by a political warfare campaign to force Taiwan to the negotiating table. 3. A total amphibious invasion using combined forces to destroy the Taiwan Army and Occupy Taiwan.
While none of these scenarios are very likely, the second is more likely than the others and the political warfare portion of the campaign is the least understood. The third scenario is more often discussed to justify military modernization efforts in Taiwan and arms sales by the United States. Sometimes the potential effectiveness of this scenario is even leaked to the press to show that China has the capability to invade Taiwan.420
The Chinese have made it clear that they cannot renounce the use of force to recover Taiwan, but they have never explained exactly what type of force. Most recent descriptions, as discussed above, have been about using high tech warfare for a quick and overwhelming strike or force to be used against a foreign power. Realistically, however, the approach to the use of force is likely to favor threat forms that have a maximum political impact as opposed to a military impact. That means beginning with some form of naval blockade.
Some Chinese military analysts have studied America’s participation in Vietnam, Somalia and Iraq and concluded that its Achilles heel is political will. If a war can be protracted and if a few casualties can be inflicted, the American people will turn against the war and cause the forces to withdraw.421 This is counterbalanced by studies of the Gulf War and the Kosovo Campaign in which high tech equipment allowed a quick no-casualty victory.
When these lessons are applied to a potential Taiwan Strait scenario we find the some Chinese thinking in terms of achieving a quick victory by "decapitating" Taiwan's leadership and crushing Taiwan’s military capability to wage war before the United States could respond. They note that a quick U.S. reaction is less likely if the U.S. is preoccupied with the war against terrorism. Since Taiwan has had fifty years to prepare for such an attack and has hardened or hidden most critical military targets, both sides concede that this scenario is not likely.
A more likely scenario would be to start slow with a naval economic blockade to cause economic chaos in Taiwan. They would attempt to influence Taiwan’s leaders by taking military actions that would cause political or economic consequences like causing the Taiwan stock market to plummet as it did in the 1995/1996 missile exercise crisis. They would announce that the purpose of their use of force would be to force Taiwan to the negotiating table, not to conquer and occupy the island. This would be part of an effort to take the moral high ground and attract world opinion to their cause. They would prevent shipping from reaching Taiwan and since Taiwan must trade to survive it would place immediate pressure on Taiwan to solve the problem. Part of this effort would be to discourage all forms of foreign investment in Taiwan. At the same time they would place pressure on the many Taiwanese businessmen investing in and residing in China to cause Taiwan's leaders to enter negotiations over the sovereignty of Taiwan.
They would also issue the standard warnings to the United States to not “interfere in China’s internal affairs” in the hope of delaying American entry into the situation. They would spend much time explaining the economic consequences of American participation for the American audience and at the same time they would use all forms of political warfare to condemn the Taiwanese independence advocates for instigating the situation and for refusing to negotiate. They would also describe the conflict as a domestic issue.
The Chinese would wait for U.S. aircraft carriers to arrive and delay contact for as long as possible. Once they are engaged by U.S. forces they believe they can – using cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, anti-satellite warfare, information warfare, submarines, modern Russian destroyers and jet fighters – find a way to inflict enough damage on the U.S. Navy to cause American popular support to be withdrawn and ultimately pull out.
An American developed response scenario is likely to focus on the stand-off non-casualty attack strategy as used in the Kosovo Campaign. After all, the mission is simple from a U.S. perspective – stop a blockade or invasion of Taiwan. Most of the battlefield is the 100 miles of water between China and Taiwan. There are no jungles, trees or caves. Some effort would go into destroying missile emplacements along the coast. Modern surveillance and weapons systems could sink all Chinese vessels in that area and destroy the Chinese naval and air capability. The U.S. Navy is confident it could accomplish this mission without much difficulty. If the conflict intensified air force bombers could be stationed in Okinawa, Guam or even Taiwan.422 The key is that the conflict could be limited to military targets to avoid civilian casualties and the bombing or missile attacks could be conducted from afar to avoid direct contact with Chinese military forces. It is such an ideal geostrategic situation that entering such a conflict would be relatively easy.
These scenarios are made possible because each side has confidence that success is possible. The probability that this scenario is initiated is based upon three possible miscalculations:423
(1) Chinese military leaders believe they can inflict enough damage on U.S. forces to cause them to withdraw, (2) American military leaders believe superior technology and weapons would make the task relatively easy and risk free, and (3) the Taiwanese believe the U.S. would certainly come to their aid, no matter the circumstances, because of continued U.S. congressional support for their democratic government.
The Taiwanese action would have to be the first and the others would follow. The problem is that it makes no difference if these beliefs are true or not. What matters is that they are believed and that makes the decision to take action much easier from each perspective.
Chinese military exercises have a direct impact on Cross Strait negotiations. China’s continued offensive amphibious and combined service exercises, accompanied by press reports, are viewed as a serious threat by Taiwan’s political and military leaders. China has also deployed an estimated 250,000 troops in the Nanjing Military Region opposite Taiwan.424 The East Sea Fleet and several air force squadrons are also focused on Taiwan. Most damaging to cross strait negotiations are the Second Artillery’s approximately 500 short range ballistic missiles targeted on Taiwan, increasing at a rate of about 75 per year, and deployed in Fujian Province. The immediate influence on cross strait negotiations is that the Taiwanese refuse to negotiate, out of principle, with a “gun pointed to their heads.”
These exercises and deployments have had the desired effect of sensitizing the Taiwanese population to the seriousness with which China views the independence movement. They have been instrumental in removing Taiwanese independence from the political issues discussed in local Taiwanese politics. On the other hand, they have had some opposite effects. The exercises and deployments have strengthened the resolve of the Taiwanese to reject any immediate unification efforts. Further they have significantly strengthened support for Taiwan by the U.S. Congress.
China’s stated approach to international conflict is to focus on the United Nations and encourage a multi-polar world. The 2002 Chinese – Russian Joint Declaration describes the strategy:
The sides hold that peace and development are the keynote of the contemporary epoch, that in the conditions of the strengthening of the key tendencies for the formation of a multi-polar world and economic globalization the peoples of all countries are interested in shaping an equitable and rational new international political and economic order which would guarantee the ongoing development and equal security of all states.
Russia and China favor strengthening the central role of the United Nations as the principal mechanism for safeguarding international security and cooperation in a multi-polar world, and advocate the further enhancement of the efficiency of the UN and, in particular, its Security Council.
This quote represents China’s often stated modern belief that economic development is the key to the future and that the world, especially the Asian region, needs to enjoy peace to achieve economic goals. Chinese leaders realize that often economic goals conflict with the world’s military issues and generally, when involved in a discussion of conflict issues, will opt for a peaceful solution that will permit continued economic intercourse regardless of the cost in political or human rights terms.
Generally observers offer two types of solutions to the military problem in the Taiwan Strait: deterrence and confidence building measures (CBMs).425 China and the United States have built weapons systems that are capable of inflicting unacceptable damage to the other side. Both havealso threatened to use their systems at various times to prevent the other side from initiating a conflict. Even though military leaders on both sides have suggested that the military capability on the other side is not credible, the fact is that both sides respect the capability of the other side. There is a balance, much like that of the Cold War, which does serve to deter both sides from rash action. Confidence-building-measures, on the other hand are not so simple. Like deterrence, CBMs are designed to prevent war.426 They are cooperative actions rather than confrontational. Although CBMs for Taiwan have been examined there has been little movement to formally develop them.427
China has engaged in negotiating CBMs with its neighbors from the early 1990s.428 The first major agreements were with the Indians in 1992 and 1996.429 Chinese officials also discussed CBMs with ASEAN states at the 1995 ASEAN Regional Forum when they were trying to find ways to solve the problem of the Spratly Islands.430 Finally, China reached a CBM agreement entitled “Agreement on Confidence-Building in the Military Field in the Border Areas,” with Russia and the Central Asian States (Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) in April, 1996, to reduce military tensions along China’s northern border. 431 That was followed by additional agreements in 1997 and 1998 refining the first one.
China has not discussed military CBMs relating to the Taiwan Strait.432 China has also never engaged in an explicit discussion of CBMs with the United States. The U.S. has considered and even engaged in a number of activities, like maritime cooperation and military-to-military exchanges, that have the same effect as CBMs, but there has been no serious discussions leading to a Sino-U.S. CBM agreement.
This means that to date the military standoff in the Taiwan Strait is based exclusively on deterrence. Such a basis has been effective so far in preventing a military conflict, but not military confrontations. The future is less certain. If, for example, Taiwan were to declare independence, rational deterrence theory may not prevail. If China concluded that the benefits of unification were more valuable than the costs of war it could initiate action.
The history of the cross strait military confrontation shows clearly the deep involvement of the United States in this issue. From the early entry of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in 1950, through the Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan to continuing arms sales, the U.S. has been an integral part of the military confrontation. The dispatch of aircraft carrier battle groups at times of crisis (1950, 1954, 1958, and 1996) further indicates the nature of the relationship. The United States has made it clear that it is not concerned with the actual outcome; it is only concerned that the problem of unification versus independence be resolved peacefully… and ironically it is willing to commit armed forces to make sure it is accomplished peacefully.
Even though this narrow military confrontation has had a direct impact on cross strait negotiations, a number of external events have had an influence on the military factor. These events have altered China’s military thinking and strategies, U.S.-China and U.S.-Taiwan military relationships and the ability of China and Taiwan to modernize their military forces.
We have noted that this triangular relationship imposes unique perceptions of threat and has clear implications for military capabilities; present and future. However, because China and Taiwan base their threat perceptions on intent more than capability and the U.S. is the opposite, some complications emerge in planning and communicating.
While China still lags behind the United States and Russia, it clearly has the capability to defeat any country on its own soil. It does not possess the capability to project power to other parts of the world, nor is it trying to develop such a capability. China is not closing the technological gap with the United States, but it is reaching a point where its military power will be much more respected by defense planners in other countries.
The wide disparity in military capability between Taiwan and China and between China and the United States has resulted in efforts to close these gaps and improve conventional military systems through indigenous development of new weapons systems and through the purchase of weapons systems and technology from foreign sources. The emphasis has been to move from old forms of mass warfare to new forms of high tech warfare.
Although China has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, it is unlikely that they would be used except against the United States in a desperate situation. Although Taiwan has had the capability to develop nuclear weapons, under pressure from the United States it has eschewed doing so.
Since all three parties are focused on high-tech warfare, actual capabilities are more likely to be determined by military innovation than by the total size of the respective armed forces. At present, all three sides have significant vulnerabilities. Taiwan has the capability to inflict severe and unacceptable damage on China in the areas opposite Taiwan (Hong Kong, Xiamen and Shanghai) and China has the capability to completely destroy Taiwan with nuclear weapons delivered by ballistic missiles if it decided to do so. China also claims to be able to inflict damage on Los Angeles.433 Finally it is clear that the United States has the potential to inflict unacceptable damage on China.
China’s approach to warfare is to use military action to achieve immediate political or economic consequences. While the U.S. also seeks political and economic results from military action, it is usually at a more general level and longer term. Understanding this basic principle helps understanding the role of the military factor in negotiations.
Although both China and the United States have the capability to escalate to the use of nuclear weapons, it is unlikely that it will happen. Although a recognized potential scenario is for China to strike quickly with overwhelming power and try to make Taiwan succumb before the U.S. can take action, the most likely military scenario is for China to initiate a naval blockade of Taiwan coupled with a major political warfare propaganda effort. Any realistic scenario is likely to escalate in a measured fashion giving all sides the opportunity to compromise and find a political solution.
Overall, the military factor as articulated by military leaders in all three areas will continue to have a major, but not the definitive, influence on negotiations to find a solution to the cross strait problem. It will continue to be a divisive factor for at least another twenty years until appropriate confidence-building-measures are in place.
274 Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II, Red Dragon Rising: Communist China’s Military Threat to America (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1999); Mel Gurtov and Byong-Moo Hwang, China’s Security: The New Roles of the Military (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998); James R. Lilley and David Shambaugh (eds.), China’s Military Faces the Future (Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1999); Susan M. Puska (ed.), People’s Liberation Army After Next (Carlisle, Pa.: Strategic Studies Institute, 2000); Larry M. Wortzel (ed.), The Chinese Armed Forces in the 21st Century (Carlisle, Pa.: Strategic Studies Institute, 1999); Hung-mao Tien and Tun-jen Cheng (eds.), The Security Environment in the Asia-Pacific (Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2000); and Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, The Coming Conflict with China (New York: Knopf, 1997).
275 Dennis Van Vranken Hickey, Taiwan’s Security in the Changing International System (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1997);
Paul H. Tai (ed.), United States, China and Taiwan: Bridges for a New Millennium (Carbondale, Il.: American Journal of Chinese Studies, 1999); James R. Lilley and Chuck Downs (eds.) Crisis in the Taiwan Strait (Washington D.C.: NDU Press, 1997); David A. Shlapak, David T. Orletsky and Barry A. Wilson, Dire Strait? Military Aspects of the China-Taiwan Confrontation and Options for U.S. Policy (Santa Monica, Ca.: Rand, 2000); Gerrit W. Gong (ed.), op. cit.; Bernice Lee, TheSecurity Implications of the New Taiwan (New York: Oxford University Press, Adelphi Paper 331, 1999); Suisheng Zhao (ed.), op. cit.; Ralph N. Clough, Cooperation or Conflict in the Taiwan Strait (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999); Tunjen Cheng, Chi Huang, Samuel S.G. Wu (eds.), op. cit.; and Wan-chin Tai (ed.), The Security Relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan after the 1996 Mini-crisis (Taipei: Tamkang University, 1997)
277 For an excellent analysis of this event see John W. Garver, Face Off: China, the United States, and Taiwan's Democratization (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), Chapter 6. Most of the information in this section comes from Garver.
278 In May 1994 President Clinton formally delinked the human rights issue from the MFN review.
279 This will be explained more fully in Chapter Six.
288 For a more detailed account of the period from 1950 to 1971, especially focused on the US Taiwan relationship see: John W. Garver, The Sino-American Alliance: Nationalist China and American Cold War Strategy in Asia (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 1997).
289 John Gittings, The Role of the Chinese Army (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 5.
290 Jinmen Island is only 1.43 miles from Xiamen City. It has an area of 57.15 square miles and has a population of about 50,000. It is close enough to see people moving around on the opposite side and to hear loudspeakers when the prevailing winds are right.
291 Hungdah Chiu, “The Question of Taiwan in Sino-American Relations,” in Hungdah Chiu (ed.), China and the Taiwan Issue (New York: Praeger, 1979), p.150.
292 Not related to the Chen Yi (陳儀) who was the KMT General overseeing Taiwan in 1947.
294 The best discussion of this period is in Thomas J. Christensen, op. cit., Chapter 4. Also see: Hungdah Chiu, op. cit. Chapter 6.
295 Ross Y. Koen, The China Lobby in American Politics (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), p. 102. Also see Stanley D. Bachrack, The Committee of One Million: “China Lobby” Politics, 1953-1971 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), Chapters One and Two. Also see Christensen, op. cit. p. 190.
296 Christensen, op. cit., p. 118. 298 Ibid., p. 129.
301 American Foreign Policy, 1950-1955, Basic Documents, Vol. 2 (Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951), pp. 1669.
302 The Korean War was considered a United Nations action because the UN had authorized the U.S. to fly the UN flag. The only reason the UN authorized the action was because the Soviet Union was boycotting the Security Council in protest against the representation by Taiwan instead of China. They could have vetoed the action. The Chinese considered the action illegal under international law. See: Everyone's United Nations: A Handbook on the Work of the United Nations (New York: United Nations, 1986), p. 52.
320 In 2003, Wu Ch'iu Yü Islet was being discussed as a possible nuclear waste storage site. See: Keith Bradsher, "Nuclear Dump Disrupts a Peaceful Taiwan Island," New York Times on the Web, June 30, 2002. In April 2003 the islet also made the news because the decision was made to remove the marines that were manning the islet: See: Ming-chieh Wu, "Taiwan Forces To Withdraw from Wuchiu Islet, Leaving Wuchiu's Defense to Coastal Patrol Administration," Taipei Tzuyu Shihpao, April 14,2003.
334 Stolper’s description of this event is an insightful distilled account. He suggests three additional sources for more detailed study: Jonathan Howe, Multicrises: Seapower and Global Politics in the Missile Age (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1971); Morton H. Halperin, The 1958 Taiwan Straits Crisis: A Documented History (Santa Monica, Ca.: RAND, Memorandum RM-4900- ISA, processed December, 1966); and Jonathan D. Pollack, Perception and Process in Chinese Foreign Policy: The Quemoy Decision (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Ph.D. dissertation, 1976).
335 This was the same day the author reported for duty as a new 2d Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. The figures on the number of shells vary. This figure is from Chiu, op. cit., p. 170.
345 The Taiwan Straits Crises: 1954-55 and 1958. Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State. Available at: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1953-1960/taiwan-strait-crises (accessed 8 August 2015).
348 Henry Kissinger, White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979), pp. 708-712.
349 Ibid. The Kissinger secret visit to China took place through the good offices of Pakistan and that explains in part why China has continued such close relations with Pakistan, especially in the military field by helping them to develop nuclear weapons.
350 Ibid., pp. 688-689. This whole episode in U.S. history is best described by the key participant, Henry Kissinger in this book, White House Years, pp. 684-787 and 1049-1096. One of the best books on this period is: Garver, Face Off.
352 The best source on this period is: Zhao (ed.), Across the Taiwan Strait, op. cit. Also see Ralph N. Clough, op. cit., Dennis Van Vranken Hickey, op. cit., and James R. Lilley and Chuck Downs (eds.), op. cit./p>
353 Details about these exercises comes from: Richard D. Fisher, Jr., “China’s Missiles Over the Taiwan Strait: A Political and Military Assessment,” in Lilly and Downs, op. cit., pp. 167-214.
358 John W. Garver, Face Off: China, the United States, and Taiwan’s Democratization (Seattle: Universityof Washington Press, 1997), p. 96. This book provides the most detailed account of this and the March 1996 deployment of U.S. aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Strait area.
359 Ibid, p. 96-97 for a more detailed discussion of the U.S. political decision-making process for this event.
362 Guo Ping, “"The Refusal to Be Committed to Renouncing the Use of Force Against Taiwan Conforms to the Fundamental Interest of the People of Taiwan" in Hong Kong Ta Kung Pao, in Chinese, February 25, 2000, p. A4.
363 Andrew Browne, “China, U.S. trade blame over plane collision,” Beijing: Reuters, April 2, 2001.The airfield on which the EP-3 landed was in the center of a cluster of PLA air, marine and navy bases.
365 Peter Felstead, “'Inside' Account Further Exonerates EP-3 Pilot”, in Jane’s Defense Weekly, May 18, 2001; and, China-U.S.Aircraft Collision Incident of April 2001: Assessments and Policy Implications. CRS Report. 2001. Available at: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL30946.pdf (accessed 12 August 2015).
366 I have talked with several senior PLA, government officials and scholars in China and all are sincerely convinced that the bombing was not an accident and that China was the designated target.
367 Tak-ho Fong, "'Expert': Taiwan To 'Fight Fire With Fire' If PRC Provokes," Hong Kong Standard (Internet Version-WWW) in English, May 10, 2000.
368 The best source to understand China’s position on security and threat perception is the December 9, 2002 White Paper
called China’s National Defense in 2002. Available at: http://china.org.cn/e-white/20021209/index.htm (accesssed 12 August 2015); Also important to an understanding of the basis for military building is Taiwan's National Defense Law. Taiwan’s defense system is also described in the July 27, 2002 Taiwan Defense Report. The best all around source on PLA perceptions, doctrine, strategies and capabilities is the annual official DOD Annual Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic of China, especially the report issued on July 28, 2003. Available at: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/2003/20030730chinaex.pdf (accessed 12 August 2015).
369 The best description of PLA doctrine and weapons systems can be found in the U.S. Defense Departments Reports to the Congress on the Military Power of the PRC. Also see China's White Paper on National Defense.
372 Michael D. Swaine, Taiwan’s National Security, Defense Policy, and Weapons Procurement Processes (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1999.
373 U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (Washington D.C., Government Printing Office, September 30, 2001), pp. 13-17. Available at: http://www.defense.gov/pubs/qdr2001.pdf (accessed 12 August 2015).
375 For a detailed discussion of attempts to understand the Chinese defense budget see Bates Gill, “Chinese Defense Procurement Spending – Determining Intentions and Capabilities,” in James R. Lilley and David Shambaugh (Eds.), China’s Military Faces the Future (Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1999), Chapter 6.
376 Even these three figures are suspect. The primary reasons are: (1) they reflect official figures offered by the governments of each entity and some defense expenditures are deliberately hidden, (2) what is included in a defense budget is not the same in each entity, (3) basic accounting methods vary and (4) fiscal years vary.
378 This figure came from New York Times link now lost.
379 This figure comes from: Department of Defense, FY 2007 Defense Budget.
380 Lilly., op. cit., pp. 195, 198, 199. The official 2003 DOD Report to Congress on the Military Power of the PRC suggests the military budget for 2002 is 3 times the stated $20 billion amount. Even at that amount it would be far less than the US budget.
381 The only reason the budget is mentioned in this study is to show that defense budget statistics are not very useful and omission might suggest a weakness in the study.
382 The U.S. defense budget is prepared primarily as a justification to the U.S. Congress, for the development of weapons systems and force structures. Since China presented the most formidable potential enemy, those who prepare the budget had to base planning and calculations on a potential war with China. After September 11, 2001 the role of unconventional or asymmetrical warfare has increased, but major weapons systems development depends upon positing China as the most dangerous potentialadversary.
383 For a detailed discussion of Taiwan's Defense Establishment also see the annual Republic of China Yearbook, published by Taiwan's Government Information Office.
384 The best easily available source for statistical analysis of the militaries of most countries in the world is The Military Balance and it is published annually. It contains detailed descriptions of military forces and weapons systems for each country. It also includes information on military budgets and arms sales or purchases.
385 The International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance – 2002-2003 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. SSBN=Strategic Submarine Ballistic Missile Nuclear Powered . ACC= Air Craft Carrier. ICBM= Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. MRBM= Medium Range Ballistic Missile. SRBM= Short Range Ballistic Missile.
386 Paul Godwin, “The PLA Faces the Twenty-First Century,” Chapter 3 and Wendy Frieman, “The Understated Revolution in Chinese Science and Technology,” Chapter 8 in Lilly and Shambaugh, op. cit. Also see Michael Pillsbury (ed.), Chinese Views of Future Warfare (Washington D.C.: National Defense University Press, Revised Edition 1998), Part IV.
387 For a complete order of battle listing of weapons systems in China and Taiwan’s inventory see: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance: 2002-2003 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 138-139,145-148, and 163-165
388 Michael Pillsbury, “Chinese Views of Future Warfare,” in Lilly and Shambaugh, op. cit., p. 73.
389 Kenneth Timmerman, "Rumsfeld Demands China Reciprocity, Insight Magazine, Special Report, posted June 24, 2002.
391 For a detailed look at the development of China’s missile programs see: John W. Lewis and Hua Di, "China's Ballistic Missile Programs: Technologies, Strategies, Goals," International Security, Fall 1992, p. 6; W. Seth Carus, Ballistic Missiles in the Third World: Threat and Response, Center for Strategic and International Studies (New York: Praeger, 1990), pp. 68, 78; and The International Institute for Strategic Studies, Military Balance 1986-87, p. 207. For the development of nuclear capabilities see: John W. Lewis and Xue Litai, China Builds the Bomb (Stanford, Ca: Stanford University Press, 1988).
397 Two were purchased in 1996 and delivered in January 2000. The next three were contracted for in 2002 and are likely to be delivered in 2006. Richard D. Fisher, Jr., “China Buys New Russian Destroyers, Jamestown Foundation: China Brief, Volume 2, Issue 3, January 31, 2002.
399 Barry Schweid, “U.S. Asks Israel to Stop Sales to China,” Associated Press, January 3, 2003.
400 Michael D. Swaine, op. cit., p. 53. This pamphlet provides a good overview of Taiwan’s defense policy making process.
401 Air Force and Navy items have priority with Army air defense and general communications and surveillance capability next.
402 Indigenous missiles include: Tian Kung - 天弓 (Sky Bow) Surface to Air Missiles; Tian Dao - 天刀 (Sky Sword) Air to Air Missile; and Tian Jian - 天劍 (Sky Spear); hsiung feng - 雄蜂 (honey bee), Kung Feng 工蜂 (worker bee) and Lei Ting - 雷霆 (thunder) tactical surface to surface missiles.
403 Key articles on Taiwan’s decision to not go nuclear are: David Albright and Corey Gay, “Taiwan: Nuclear Nightmare Averted,” in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 54, No. 1, January/February 1998; William Burr, “New Archival Evidence on Taiwanese ‘Nuclear Intentions’, 1966-1976, in National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book #19.Available at: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb221/index.htm and www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB20/) (accessed 12 August 2015); Gerald Segal, “Taiwan’s Nuclear Card,” in The Asian Wall Street Journal, August 5, 1998. Available at http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB902265323131779500 (accessed 12 August 2015); and Tim Weiner, “How a Spy Kept Taiwan in the Cold,” New York Times, December 20, 1997.
413 Monte R. Bullard, "Undiscussed Linkages: Implications of Taiwan Straits Security Activity on Global Arms Control and Nonproliferation," in Kenneth Klinkner (ed.), The United States and Cross-Straits Relations: China, Taiwan and the US Entering a New Century (Urbana-Champaign: Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Illinois, 2001), pp. 148- 163.
414 Xuetong Yan, “Theater Missile Defense and Northeast Asian Security,” in Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring-Summer 1999, pp. 65-74.
415 When political warfare is examined it is usually only as a political phenomenon about Party control overthe military or contributions to troop morale. See Ellis Joffe, The Chinese Red Army: Growth and Professionalism and Party-Army Relations, 1949-1963 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1963) and Party and Army, Professionalism and Political Control in the Chinese Officer Corps, 1949-1964 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1965). Two books begin to discuss the political work system as a contributor to combat effectiveness in: Hsiao-shih Cheng, Party- Military Relations in the PRC and Taiwan: Paradoxes of Control (Boulder: Westview Press, 1990) and Monte Bullard, The Soldier and the Citizen, op. cit. The most complete overview of political warfare is found in: Wang Sheng, Political Warfare (Taipei: Ministry of National Defense, 1963).
416 "Watching Closely for Changes in Relationships with Taiwan and Enhancing Awareness of Military Leadership of Current Situation Office of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China," August 10, 1999 (Seal of the CMC).
417 The differences are represented by the cartoon, drawn by my sister, Sally Duff, that shows a major flaw in operational planning. Each sides prepares for its game and the game is similar but different. In this case the two sides have made opening moves still not realizing the game isdifferent.
418 One realistic scenario was developed by journalists, not military analysts. It is found in: Bernstein and Munro, op. cit.,Chapter 8. Interestingly, another fairly realistic scenario is found in a book of pure fiction, Tom Clancy, The Bear and the Dragon (New York: Berkley Books, 2000), pp. 990-1137.
419 These scenarios were discussed by Andrew N.D. Yang, "The PLA and the Taiwan Strait Campaign," CAPS- RAND International Conference on PLA Affairs, San Diego, Ca., August 15-16, 2003.
420 Lin Chien-hua: "Thwarting the Communist Army: Ilan Selected for Exercise" from Lien Ho Pao, Sept. 5, 2003, reported by FBIS as " "Secret" Taiwan General Staff HQ Report Says PLA is Capable of Invading Taiwan," in FBIS Report CPP20030905000050.
421 The 2003 Iraqi insurgency strategy of killing one American soldier a day spread out over a long duration, rather than big attacks to kill many, is an example of a political warfare strategy.
422 Okinawa could be left out to avoid problems in Japan, but according to the U.S. – Japan Mutual Defense Treaty, the U.S.could use it.
425 A very useful discussion of how deterrence theory is applied in this case is: Robert S. Ross, “Navigating the Taiwan Strait: Deterrence, Escalation, Dominance, and U.S. – China Relations, in International Security, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Fall 2002), pp. 48-85. For an excellent account of Sino-US military relations see Jing-dong Yuan, “Sino-US Military Relations Since Tiananmen: Restoration, Progress, and Pitfalls, “ Parameters, Spring, 2003.
426 CBMs include a wide variety of activities including, but not limited to: military force reductions, military exercise announcements, exchange of observers for military exercises, hotlines, etc.
427 See: Lee, Chyungly. Maritime Confidence Building Measures Across the Taiwan Strait: Technical Collaboration for Human Security at Sea, (Oak Ridge, Tn.: US Dept. of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories,Cooperative Monitoring Center Occasional Paper/26, March 2003); Ralph Cossa, Asia Pacific Confidence and Security Building Measures (Washington DC: CSIS, 1995); Ralph Cossa, "Asia-Pacific Confidence Building Measures for Regional Security" in Michael Krepon et.al. (eds.), A Handbook of Confidence Building Measures for Regional Security (Washington D.C.: The Henry L. Stimson Center); and Michael Krepon (ed.), "Chinese Perspectives on Confidence-building Measures," The Henry L. Stimson Center, Report No. 23, May 1997.
430 China was in conflict with five other claimants to the Spratly (Nansha) Islands that are located between the Philippines and Vietnam. The five were: Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
432 Outside observers such as David Shambaugh, George Washington University and Ken Allen, Center for Naval Analysis have offered suggestions. See: Kenneth Allen, formerly of the Stimson Center, “China’s Approach to CBMs across the Taiwan Strait,”
433 See: "Did China Threaten to Bomb Los Angeles?" Proliferation Brief, Vol. IV - No. 4, March 21, 2001.