Taiwan must strengthen its defense: United States


While Ukraine’s use of asymmetric warfare against Russia has been primarily on land, Taiwan is likely to focus on sea and air, an analyst said.

  • Writer, with CNA, Washington

A senior US defense official told a US Senate hearing on Thursday that Taiwan should strengthen its asymmetric capabilities to defend against an attack from China.

US Undersecretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities Mara Karlin said the war in Ukraine illustrates Taiwan’s need to prepare.

“I think the situation we’re seeing in Ukraine right now is a very interesting case study…of why Taiwan needs to do everything possible to develop asymmetric capabilities, to prepare its people, so they can be ready as quickly as possible if China chooses to violate its sovereignty,” Karlin told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Photo: AFP

She was responding to a question from committee chairman Bob Menendez, who asked when the US Department of Defense last conducted an assessment with Taiwan of its defense capabilities and needs.

Karlin said the United States and Taiwan regularly discuss ways Washington can help Taipei build a military suited to the threats it faces.

“Ensuring that Taiwan gets the asymmetric capabilities it needs, which is the most appropriate, is a top priority,” Karlin said.

US Assistant Secretary for the Office of Political and Military Affairs Jessica Lewis said that to offset China’s military superiority, Taiwan should focus on building its asymmetric capabilities, rather than acquiring more military weapons. conventional.

Asymmetric systems, which have been put to good use in Ukraine, are cost-effective, mobile, resilient and decentralized, Lewis said, citing as examples short-range air defense systems, naval mines and coastal and land defense missiles. cruise.

“Obviously we don’t want there to be a conflict in Taiwan, but what they are doing is taking steps to resolve this issue,” Lewis said. “They have just created the establishment of an all-out defense mobilization organization, and they are working with our national guard to develop this program.

“Our support [for Taiwan] remain rock solid,” Lewis told the committee, which sought to learn more about U.S. external security cooperation and assistance, including the Chinese threat to Taiwan.

In Taiwan, Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research associate at the National Defense and Security Research Institute, said yesterday that Taiwan should take advantage of cost-effective precision-guided munitions to boost its asymmetric warfare capabilities. of counter-invasion.

Affordable precision-guided air defense and anti-ship missiles would be key to giving Taiwan an edge over an invasion force, he said.

Although Ukraine leveraged asymmetric warfare against Russia in a land war, Taiwan would likely have to focus on sea and air engagements, which would require a different approach to asymmetric warfare, Su said.

Despite the differences, the logic remains the same, in that “the key to asymmetric warfare is the difference in cost,” Su said.

Asked about Karlin’s remarks, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu (劉鵬宇), said that some in the United States encouraged Taiwan independence forces in a bid to curb the rejuvenation of China.

“It would not only push Taiwan into a precarious situation, but also cause unbearable consequences for the US side,” Liu said in an email.

Additional Reuters reports

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