Beijing arms buy may widen imbalance: MND

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — China’s ongoing military buildup including its latest arm deals with Russia continues to increase the cross-strait military imbalance and poses a serious threat to Taiwan’s defense capabilities, a military spokesman said yesterday. Asked to comment on China’s latest deals with Russia, which sees the mainland purchasing fighter jets and submarines, military spokesman Luo Shou-he (羅紹和) said yesterday that China’s military modernization drive continues to shift the military balance further in Beijing’s favor.

“The Republic of China Armed Forces is facing a growing and stern threat due to (China’s military buildup)” Luo noted.

However, the spokesman reiterated that Taiwan’s military will not engage in an arms race with China, but will focus instead on making optimal use of its limited defense budget. Taiwan will continue to develop “asymmetrical strategies” utilizing unconventional capabilities to counter China’s military buildup, he noted. Luo made the comments after Chinese state media reported earlier this week that Beijing has agreed to buy 24 fighter jets and four submarines from Moscow. China is buying 24 Su-35 fighters and four Lada-class submarines, reported Communist Party organs the People’s Daily and China Central Television. The deal was reportedly signed just before last weekend’s visit to Moscow by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping (習近平). It is reported to be the first time in a decade that China has made a large-scale military purchase from Russia. Meanwhile, speaking during a regular military news briefing yesterday, Luo called on the Chinese government to respect Taiwan’s participation in international events. The call came after Beijing allegedly pressured the Indonesian government into forcing a Taiwanese delegation to withdraw from an international defense summit held in Indonesia last week. A four-person Taiwanese delegation had planned to attend the two-day Jakarta International Defense Dialogue last Tuesday and Wednesday but was forced to pull out at the last minute after Beijing lodged a protest with the Indonesian government about Taiwan’s presence.