August 25, 2005: After years of haggling and debate, Taiwan's legislature approved $15 billion of arms purchases from the United States. The package includes eight diesel-electric submarines, submarine-hunting P-3C aircraft and anti-missile missiles (PAC-3 Patriot anti-missile systems).
About damn time. I have to wonder if the recent Chinese-Russian exercises didn't have a good effect on Taiwan's legislators.
The Taiwanese have only two reasonably modern submarines and need more to threaten Chinese invasion forces. I wonder who we have lined up to supply them since we don't build diesel electrics any more. If Taiwan has a credible submarine force that uses weapons that we use, we can use our submarines against the Chinese with the ability to deny we are shooting if we have to in early stages of a conflict.
The Taiwanese also need the Patriots to keep airfields and ports secure for US supply ships and any US reinforcements to arrive. They can also protect Taiwanes forces using those fields and ports.
The Orions can hunt Chinese subs to keep the Chinese from blockading Taiwan's ports.
All of these weapons are crucial to counter China's growing capabilities in the Taiwan Strait.
The question is will Taiwan absorb these weapons in time to either scare the Chinese off or, failing deterrence, beat the Chinese off long enough for America and Japan to intervene?
The Taiwanese lost four crucial years of preparation. I hope the delay won't prove fatal.