Taiwan Arms Nearly Secured, Motives Not

Following an earlier post on the pending status of a major U.S.-Taiwan arms sale, AFP reports:

The Pentagon notified Congress Friday of 6.5 billion dollars in possible arms sales to Taiwan that would include advanced interceptor missiles, Apache helicopters and submarine-launched missiles.The Defense Security and Cooperation Agency said the proposed sales were aimed at improving Taiwan’s defenses and would not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The proposed sale would end a year-long lull in US arms sales to Taipei.

But veteran defense and national security journalist Bill Gertz writes for the Washington Times that a recent report on U.S.-China security concerns is the first governmental admission that U.S. involvement in Taiwan arms capacity is related to the U.S.’s National Missile Defense (NMD) program:

U.S. defense policy has stressed missile defenses against Iran and North Korea. The report, by the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), is the first to recommend such defenses against China, including technology in space.

The draft, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, said Chinese strategy goes beyond building forces capable of retaking the island of Taiwan. China seeks to “break out” by projecting power beyond its region including sea lanes that carry energy resources for its modernization, the document said.

On U.S. missile defense motivations, Chris Nelson writes in a recent issue of The Nelson Report:

Some may recall everyone’s Adult Supervisors, Amb. Jim Lilley and Don Oberdorfer, discussing NMD on the Lehrer News Hour on PBS, the context being N. Korea’s missile efforts.

While Don was making the point that the Bush Administration was cheerfully using the North Koreans as justification for NMD, Lilley laughingly interrupted (close paraphrase, we hope!): “It’s NEVER been about North Korea, Don, it China. It’s ALWAYS been about China.”

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