Do you all think China could be a potential threat in the near future? Their military build up is very suspicious. They haven't answered why they've been doing it, only saying that it's because of "balance" yet the "balance" will be greatly tilted in their favor in less then a year if they keep up the build up.
Taiwan stages live military drills to deter China By C.C. Yao
50 minutes ago
Taiwan staged its biggest live-fire army drills in about 20 years on Thursday, showcasing latest weaponry designed to combat a potential Chinese attack as Beijing builds its military might.
More than 13,000 soldiers took part in the exercise, which saw U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets screaming across the sky and tanks firing from a beach at targets floating on the sea.
Paratroopers posing as Chinese communist soldiers floated to the ground, simulating an airborne assault against key installations on the island.
"Across the Strait, China has always been the biggest national security threat to the Republic of China, Taiwan, for the past half a century," said the island's independence-leaning president, Chen Shui-bian.
"Global military strategies are ever-changing with recent heightened tensions along the Korean peninsula," he said, adding that boosting Taiwan's defense would ensure peace and stability along the Taiwan Strait and the Asia-Pacific region.
The annual Han Kuang -- or Chinese Glory -- exercises are designed to counter an invasion by China, which views self-ruled democratic Taiwan as a wayward province that has to be unified with the mainland, by force if necessary.
China's cabinet-level Taiwan Affairs Office had no immediate comment.
SHIFTING MILITARY BALANCE
Thursday's exercise featured more than 550 pieces of artillery, including nearly 40 types of aircraft, warships, tanks and canons, the Defense Ministry said.
The ministry had splashed flashy advertisements on television in the days ahead of the exercise, part of an ongoing publicity effort to stress the need for bolstering the island's defenses.
Taiwan's defense officials said in February Taiwan planned to raise its annual military spending -- around T$240 billion (US$7.3 billion), or 2.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2006 -- to 2.85 percent of GDP in 2007 and 3 percent in 2008.
The plan came as opposition legislators repeatedly blocked a special budget to buy U.S. arms, even though the package was cut from US$18 billion to US$11 billion, and again to US$9 billion.
Chen said this week China had 820 missiles aimed at Taiwan, giving the island of 23 million people more reason to boost its military defenses.
Taiwan and China have faced off since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island after losing a civil war to the Communists.
The military balance in the Taiwan Strait is now shifting in China's favor because the Asian giant has been pumping up defense amid concern that Taiwan will declare independence, analysts say.
The United States, obliged by its Taiwan Relations Act to help the island defend itself, has repeatedly urged China to explain its military build-up, worried it will alter the balance of regional power.
China's defense expenditure was officially about US$30 billion in 2005, up 12.6 percent from the previous year, but many foreign experts believe the real figure is significantly higher.