The Pentagon’s latest report on China’s military buildup highlights the continuing purchase of weapons that pose a genuine threat to Taiwan’s young democracy. The Peoples’ Republic deploys up to 730 short-range ballistic missiles in garrisons opposite Taiwan, for example, and is adding 100 missiles per year. Its longer-range ballistic missile force also is being revamped with newer, more survivable munitions and, in the future, three new types of ballistic missiles including the submarine-launched JL-2. Its naval forces are being bolstered with new guided-missile destroyers and three additional classes of attack subs, some capable of launching cruise missiles.Blasé? Ouch.
The Pentagon describes a buildup that is pervasive across the range of China’s forces. But the mid-July report to Congress is virtually silent on perhaps the most shocking change to the security situation across the Taiwan Strait. As China bolsters its forces and labels the cross-strait situation as “grim” in its 2004 Defense White Paper, Taiwan has adopted an attitude that can only be described as blasé. Defense spending is on a sharp decline, conscription is being reduced and legislative action on an $18.2 billion package of arms to be purchased from the United States has been delayed 26 times in the Legislative Yuan.
See this previous post on what may be the theory behind China's sea power push.