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The debate about Chinese air power and its ramifications for Taiwanese national security continues, with the continued controversy over China’s “dangerous intercept” of US surveillance craft in late August continuing to unfold and an ensuing debate about the legitimacy or illegitimacy of Chinese responses to American surveillance in past weeks. While the issue of arms sales has taken center stage, as it often does, with the strong likelihood of US arms sales to Taiwan in the next year but without submarine or fighter plane sales to Taiwan and the canceling of planned upgrading of 146 Taiwanese F-16 fighter planes.
In contrast to the concerns about Taiwanese air defense as reported in the media, a recently released study by Washington-based think tank, Project 2049, which includes members of the Heritage Foundation and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Ian Brzezinski on its boards of directors, argues that Taiwanese air and missile defense network is among the world’s most sophisticated. Yet, this is part of a broader argument that given the sophistication of the Taiwanese air and missile defense network and the already present role of the US in the defense network and therefore advocates that the US needs to step up its involvement with Taiwan, although the report’s treatment of the threat of Chinese missile strikes and Taiwanese missile defense is far more emphasized than its discussion of Taiwanese air power. More broadly, we can perhaps situate this in the return of balance-of-power American considerations of Asia Pacific regional security, so far as this was an aspect of Cold War era American foreign policy considerations, but which nonetheless retains hold within sectors and salient institutional frameworks of the American security establishment.
關於中國對台灣的空中威脅的辯論持續，特別因為八月底中國戰鬥機跟美國間諜飛機的事件引起討論中國的動作或是美國的是非國際法的。明年，美國會賣軍事裝備給台灣，但是不會賣戰鬥機或潛艇，而在媒體上中國對台灣的空中威脅又是一個熱門話題。不過美國智庫「Project 2049」最新的報告強調台灣導彈防禦，報告的倫理是美國應該比較強烈支持台灣防空與導彈防禦。然而，必須懷疑的是這是不是代表美國關亞太地區防空方面的「balance-of-power politics」的看法，類似冷戰時代，然後對台灣有利或有弊。
Brian Hioe (丘琦欣) is an M.A. student at Columbia University, a freelance writer on politics and social activism, and an occasional translator. He is formerly a resident of Taipei, Taiwan.