世紀末看台海軍力演變

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1998 / 10月

文‧林奇伯 圖‧邱瑞金



自從一九九五年中共在台灣海峽進行飛彈試射,挑起台海危機之後,國人開始警覺到「台海危機」一詞不再只是存在於歷史之中,而是隨時可能發生。

面對中共的蠢蠢欲動與「不確定性格」,未來發生台海危機的可能性有多高?可能的方式為何?我國是否有力量抵擋中共的攻擊?台海的安全問題備受關注。

一九五五年,共軍渡海大攻擊,進犯我一江山島,我一江山駐軍全部陣亡,雙方陸續在金門、馬祖、大陸沿海發生武裝衝突,交火範圍一度延伸至大陸近海港口。這是國民政府播遷來台後,第一次發生台海危機。

一九五八年,第二次台海危機爆發,中共四十四天內砲擊金馬前線四十八萬發,並封鎖金門地區軍事補給,我軍浴血作戰,終於保住金馬前線。八二三砲戰至今正好四十年。

一九九五年,戰雲再度瀰漫台灣海峽,中共以飛彈試射演習為手段,意圖影響我國總統大選結果與當選人選後的表態,第三次台海危機備受國際矚目。

時隔數十年,從最近發生的台海危機中可以看出,台海軍事情勢已有了新演變:軍事衝突的高科技化與兩岸衝突隨時發生的不確定性──只要台海問題存在的一天,危機仍可能一再重複,而危機發生的形式將更高科技化。 虛擬台海危機

一九九○年的波灣戰爭,給予國際社會極大的震撼,這震撼不只是政治上的,在戰爭的形式上也給予國際社會新的啟發。淡江大學國際事務與戰略研究所所長翁明賢指出,波灣戰爭中,美軍所使用的高科技戰爭型態,刺激中共開始思考新的戰略形式,從而改弦易轍,從對「量」的要求改成對「質」的講究,裁軍與高科技化成為中共的新國防政策。

翁明賢認為,中共未來可能掀起台海危機的形式可以分成「準軍事衝突」、「小規模軍事衝突」與「全面性軍事衝突」三種層次。

「準軍事衝突」為軍事威脅,形式可能是軍事演習,一九九五年至一九九六年中共的導彈試射便為一例;也可能是「封鎖」:封鎖我方外島對外運補,圍而不打,或對台灣本島施以遠距或近接兩種封鎖形式,切斷對外貿易交通。

「小規模軍事衝突」,一則為襲擾外島:中共以襲擾外島的方式脅迫我方談判。其中,由於金門、馬祖諸島我方經營已久,作戰工事精良,不易攻下,共軍以攻佔南海水域內之東沙與太平島最為可能;二則為地對地導彈攻擊:由於這種方式對金馬外島襲擊的效果有限,中共可能以台灣城市或政經中心為目標。

「全面性軍事衝突」則是以摧毀我方戰鬥力量與戰鬥意志為主,攻擊範圍不限於外島,而將延伸至台澎周圍領空、海域、或陸地全面戰爭。

在全面性軍事衝突的情況下,最為一般人所關注的,乃在中共是否會動用核武。翁明賢指出,從現階段的情形來看,中共對台灣使用核武的可能性很低,主要是基於國際政治現實的考量。中共在今年發表的國防白皮書中指出:「在任何時候、任何情況下都不首先使用核武器」,並「無條件承諾不對無核武器國家和無核武器區使用或威脅使用核武器」。如果中共在台海戰爭使用核武,無疑是打破此項承諾,如此將造成極大的國際震撼,擔起不可測的政治風險。因此,中共的核武器主要還是充作戰略上的「嚇阻」之用。 速戰速決

中共引發台海危機有許多可能的形式,但根據中共軍事問題專家、清華大學原子科學系教授鍾堅研判,能夠在極短時間內速戰速決的「癱瘓戰」,是未來中共最可能採行的作戰方式,而這其中以遠程封鎖的形式最具戰略效益。

就地緣戰略而言,台灣為海島型國家,進出口原料、貨物百分之九十九以上仰賴海域運輸,尤其是經濟命脈所繫的原油大多由中東、北非、英國、印尼等地進口,所以中共若採遠距長程的封鎖方式,在南中國海攔截我方油輪,原油不能即時運補,台灣將很快癱瘓。

相對而言,中共全面犯台的可能性比較不高,「時間」是最大的考量,費力耗時的「殲滅戰」、類似封港、沿岸封鎖或長期虛耗的「消耗戰」、以及不適用於民主社會的「游擊戰」,都不是對中共有利的作戰型態。由於台灣在亞太地區戰略位置重要,加上美國一向關注台海情勢的發展,中共在犯台的行動中若未能「先贏全勝」,就會使外國有插手台海政治、軍事的機會,對中共來說極為不利。 中共整軍經武

根據中共今年發表的國防白皮書指出,由於意識到「一場以發展高技術武器為先導的軍事領域的深刻變革,正在世界範圍內興起」,中共正積極「走有中國特色的精兵之路」,計劃今後三年裁減軍隊員額五十萬,使解放軍總規模保持在二百五十萬左右。

在戰略部署上,中共已將「打贏高科技條件下的局部戰爭」定為新時期的戰略方針,而軍事戰略部署重點已由「三北」調整至「四海」──即將重點兵力由北方邊境轉移至東南沿海,以高科技為主的「積極防禦」,取代過去以人海戰術為主的「人民戰爭」戰略,並局部將「近岸防禦」轉變為「近海防禦」,以向前延長戰略縱深,將軍事觸角伸至太平洋。為達到這個戰略目標,中共除了大肆採購蘇愷二十七型戰機、洲際飛彈及巡弋飛彈外,也積極自俄羅斯延聘人才自行研發這類高性能戰機、飛彈,並且積極發展一支能獨立作戰的艦隊。

國防部參謀總長唐飛上將研判,中共調整其軍事戰略的意圖,除了藉展現高科技武器裝備實力,以提昇在亞太地區與全球的政治地位,並增強處理其國內與邊境的不穩定情勢的能力之外,確保可靠的威懾武力,以對付其所謂具分離意向的台灣,也是中共調整軍事戰略的重要意圖。

根據國防部今年剛公布的國防報告書指出,中共在「積極防禦」的新戰略方針之下,已將以陸軍為主的協同作戰,轉變成海、空比重增大的三軍聯合作戰,一九九五年七月至一九九六年三月,中共曾以南京軍區為主體編成「戰區」,實施七次攻台實兵演習,且近兩年來,針對台灣的演習依然不斷(見十一頁圖)。 中共已具進犯能力

不但如此,中共近兩年來已完成海上「應急機動部隊」的整建、東南沿海戰備建設、武器裝備研改換裝,亦建立各種相應指揮、管理、通訊、情報系統,並且多次實施對台作戰演練。根據國防部發表的國防報告書研判,中共已具有對台實施海空攻擊,及局部或全面封鎖,與進犯外島的能力。中共若實施武力犯台,兵力將可能如下調動(請見附圖):

陸軍:除福建地區三十一集團軍約八萬人外,可於短期內抽調其他軍區應急機動部隊及戰略預備部隊約二十六萬人。

海軍:可以利用潛艦、動員機漁船對台實施長期海上封鎖;或於台灣本、外島周邊海域實施海上佈雷;集結兩棲艦艇輸送加強師,進行正規登陸作戰;以機漁船分批輸送三十五萬精裝部隊支援。

空軍:距離台灣本島二五○浬內十三處軍民用機場,一次可進駐一千二百餘架戰機,並可使用五十九架空運機,運送兩個空降團進行空降作戰。

二砲(導彈部隊):「東風十五號」及「東風二十一號」飛彈,可直接攻擊我方重要政治、經濟及軍事設施,此乃對我威脅性最強的軍事行動。 二代兵力

面對世界戰略局勢的變革與中共戰力的不斷提昇,我方是否具有足夠的力量防禦中共的攻擊?國防部參謀總長唐飛表示,我方的軍事戰略已由過去的「攻守一體」轉變為「防衛固守、有效嚇阻」,自民國八十七年至九十年實施軍事組織與兵力結構調整的「精實案」,並同時建構「量少、質精、戰力強」的新一代兵力。

目前我軍二代兵力的整建著重武器「自動化」、改革「整體化」、陸軍「飛彈化」、三軍配合「立體化」,達成「減少人力、增強火力、提昇戰力」為主要目標。

唐飛表示,目前我軍具體戰力提昇的成果主要為:我軍自行研製的IDF經國號戰機、向美國採購的F-16戰機、向法國採購的幻象2000戰機及防空飛彈,已陸續成軍服役;海軍新一代作戰艦艇,成功級艦、康定級艦、濟陽級艦等已逐次成軍,可有效執行反封鎖、巡防、護航、反潛等任務;而陸軍武裝及戰搜直昇機部隊已經成立,我軍地、空二位一體作戰能力大為提昇。另外,各式飛彈的籌建,也有效提昇了各空層機動作戰能力。 打什麼、有什麼

我軍二代兵力的整建目標是「打什麼、有什麼」──配合新的戰略情勢,建立一支能有效嚇阻中共的高科技兵力。但不容諱言,目前國軍的高科技武器裝備仍未盡齊全。

海峽兩岸高科技國防武器的來源相似,主要為外購與自製兩種。唐飛表示,中共自一九九一年以來已購進為數不少的蘇愷二十七型戰機與AA-10中距離空對空飛彈,但目前我空軍F-16戰機所佩掛與AA-10對等的AIM-7麻雀飛彈,已無法為我軍保持空中優勢,所以目前國軍需要優於AA-10的中程空對空飛彈。

在潛艦方面,因中共擁有龐大的水下兵力,近年更著手研發核潛艦,而我軍現僅有潛艦四艘,且其中兩艘為美國二次大戰時所用之改良潛艦,性能過於老舊,僅能做為訓練之用,無法有效執行反封鎖任務,所以潛艦的購置刻不容緩。

台灣目前比較重要的高科技國防武器研發成果,主要在戰機、艦艇、及飛彈三項:戰機方面:經國號戰機於民國八十三年六月進入量產,計劃生產一百三十架,第一個作戰聯隊已成軍擔任戰備。飛彈方面:空對空天劍一型、二型飛彈、地對空天弓一型、二型飛彈、艦對艦雄風二型飛彈,已分別計劃生產或進入量產,並陸續加入戰備。艦艇方面:「成功」、「鄭和」等飛彈巡防艦已成軍服役,「班超」、「張騫」艦已完成載台製造,正測試中。近岸巡邏艦「錦江艦」已經成軍,後續造艦計劃仍持續進行。

而中共高科技武器研發的成果,主要為旅海級驅逐艦、江衛級護衛艦完成研製,進行「殲十」、「FC-1 」戰機研製,「東風五號」多頭彈及「東風三十一號」機動戰略飛彈持續生產及最新「遠攻導航導彈」的研發。 自製與外購的困境

中共軍事問題專家鍾堅指出,由於國情不同,兩岸武器自製能力無法精確地做一比較。雖然中共以前的武器製造都以全自製為目標,並且可以外銷,但目前在高科技武器的製造上,卻與我國一樣,面臨自製率不高的困境。

國策研究院專任副研究員歐錫富表示,台海兩岸在高科技武器的自製上常必須依賴外國技術。以我軍的IDF經國號戰機為例,其中約百分之六十的零組件須賴進口,尤其是飛機關鍵引擎的製造,仍需由美國提供。

在共軍方面,目前與俄羅斯合作生產的蘇愷二十七型戰機(殲十一),雖為分階段提高自製率,但中共最高只擁有百分之七十的自製率,飛機製造中最重要的技術,如AL-31F引擎的製造,俄羅斯基於科技領先的戰略考量,並未轉移給中共。

在自製率無法提昇的情況下,雙方在外購高科技國防武器亦遇到相當的困難,雖然如鍾堅所言,台海兩岸的軍備整建只是全球戰略改變考量下的換代問題,無涉於軍備競賽,但在高科技領先國家的戰略考量下,兩岸在高科技武器的購買,往往得視軍售國的政治、戰略、與經濟考量而定,而台灣在中共外交的打壓下,軍購尤其困難。

目前台灣最主要的外購武器來源為美國,但因內政、外交的考量,美國對我軍售狀況常有所變動。受中共政治壓力較小的荷蘭與法國,基於經濟因素的考量,對我也有少數戰機與潛艦的軍售,但國策研究院專任副研究員歐錫富形容,這有點類似棒球上的術語「打帶跑」,無法長期持久。

「即使美國持續對台軍售,現階段重大武器系統的提供也將會減少,」中央研究院歐美研究所所長林正義教授說:「如F-16戰機、潛艦等高科技武器的軍售會更加困難,在這種情況下,整合與提昇現有武器系統的整體戰力才是更重要的。」

在這方面,我國仍有許多加強的空間,如:加強操作與維護武器裝備的能力,積極從事兵棋模擬、實兵推演等。 第三波戰爭

國防戰略日新月異,在台海兩岸這一波兵力換代的同時,另一波新的高科技戰爭型態亦在悄悄地醞釀當中。軍事問題專家、陸委會副主任委員林中斌指出,現代戰爭的第三波武力發展在台海間已開始展開,未來的第三波戰爭型態將是「癱瘓式戰爭」,也就是中共所謂的「點穴戰爭」。

林中斌指出,這類型的戰爭分為「硬殺」與「軟殺」兩種:前者包括以巡弋飛彈癱瘓對方電力系統與破壞電腦指揮中心,使武器系統完全停擺。其中「定向能武器」可以打出高能量雷射、微波、無線電波、或粒子光束,摧毀對方武器系統;後者則為「資訊戰爭」,或中共所稱的「信息戰」,主要以電腦病毒或電子干擾器破壞軍事電腦系統,這種沒有流血與硝煙的作戰方式尤其可怕。

林中斌提醒,在這種符合中共經濟效益的高科技癱瘓戰中,我們必須特別注意的是,信息戰又稱「不對稱戰爭」,先進國家的高度電腦化優勢,往往在此種戰爭中,成為最大的弱點,資訊化程度較低的國家可對準先進國家的此一弱點攻擊,而正符合了目前台海兩岸資訊化懸殊的特色。

「二○一○年時,中共若未發生政治上的『質變』,或台灣未研發出反至中共點穴戰的戰術,以中共目前正積極準備資訊戰爭的情況來看,將對我造成嚴重威脅。」林中斌警告。 不挑釁、不迴避

不管過去、現在、與未來戰爭型態如何演變,避免一場殺傷力強的戰爭,和平解決台海問題一直為我國政府追求的目標。

東吳大學政治系教授劉必榮指出,雖然目前中共不會對台灣有立即危險的動作出現,但台灣必須在軍事上避免給中共犯台的誘因──當台灣軍事力量太弱,中共可以最小成本攻下台灣時,就可能發動攻擊;相對的,當中共意識到台灣的軍事力量已強大到足以威脅它時,戰爭亦會爆發。

如何克服軍購與自製的困境,在太強與太弱間審慎掌控,維持兩岸武力平衡 ,正是我國軍事上最大的挑戰。

兩岸兵力示意表
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我國

中共

陸軍

特色

殲敵於水際及空降地區 兵力部署重點轉向大陸東南地區

裝備

通用、攻擊、戰搜直昇機160架,M60A3、M48H等戰車1300輛,火砲1400門 各類型戰車14000輛,牽引砲1300門,多管火箭2100門,走砲1500門

海軍

特色

與空、陸軍聯合反封鎖、截擊、反登陸作戰 海上應急部隊部署於東、南海艦隊

裝備

潛艦四艘戰艦30艘,500-MD、S70C(M)反潛直昇機20架 各型戰艦2700艘,部份配備C-802攻船飛彈、紅旗61、海響尾蛇艦對空飛彈,各級潛艦近100艘,俄製K級潛艦3艘

空軍

特色

防空攔截、空中反潛、支援友軍、電子作戰 距台500浬內各基地飛機600架,作戰半徑涵蓋台灣本島

裝備

F-5E、經國號、F-16、幻象2000-5、空中預警機、S-2T反潛機等共400餘架 各型戰機,包括殲七、殲八、蘇愷27共5000架

資料來源:民國八十七年國防報告書

圖表繪製:李淑玲

近三年共軍演訓概況

區分

性質

例行性訓練

例行性演習

針對性演習

合計

年別

1995

1996

1997

1995

1996

1997

1995

1996

1997

成都軍區

3

4

3

1

?/TD> ?/TD> ?/TD> ?/TD> ?/TD>

11

瀋陽軍區

3

4

6

1

1

2

?/TD> ?/TD> ?/TD>

17

蘭州軍區

3

4

3

1

5

1

?/TD> ?/TD> ?/TD>

17

北京軍區

4

6

8

1

1

?/TD> ?/TD> ?/TD> ?/TD>

20

廣州軍區

9

4

9

1

1

1

?/TD> ?/TD> ?/TD>

25

濟南軍區

3

7

8

3

5

2

1

?/TD> ?/TD>

29

南京軍區

12

25

12

2

2

5

3

3

?/TD>

64

小  計

37

54

49

10

15

11

4

3

?/TD>

183

合  計

140

36

7

註:「針對性演習」是指中共官方正式對外宣佈,針對我國務實外交所實施之軍事演習。

資料來源:民國八十七年國防報告書╱圖表繪製:李淑玲

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Face-Off: Maintaining the ROC-PRC Military Balance

Eric Lin /photos courtesy of Diago Chiu /tr. by Phil Newell


Since 1995, when PRC missile tests in the Taiwan Strait raised the specter of military confrontation between the ROC and PRC, people in Taiwan have awoken to the fact that "the Taiwan Strait crisis" is no longer a term of purely historical interest. A new Taiwan Strait crisis could break out at any moment.

Faced with the PRC's policy of deliberate unpredictability, what is the possibility that there may be another Taiwan Strait crisis in the future? What form might this take? Does the ROC possess the military capability to resist a PRC attack? The Taiwan Strait security question is getting a lot of attention these days.

In 1955, mainland Chinese forces attacked Yijiangshan Island, completely wiping out the ROC forces stationed there. The two sides continued fighting on Kinmen, Matsu, and along the mainland Chinese coast. The fighting even extended to mainland Chinese coastal ports. This was the first "Taiwan Strait crisis" after the retreat of the Nationalist government to Taiwan in 1949.

The second Taiwan Strait crisis occurred in 1958. Over 44 days, Communist forces bombarded Kinmen and Matsu with 4.8 million shells, and blockaded military supplies to those islands. The ROC military fought ferociously, and ultimately secured the Kin-men/Matsu front line. These events are known in Taiwan as the 8-23 Artillery Battle, because the firing began on August 23.

The clouds of war again swept over the Taiwan Strait in 1995. Using military exercises and missile tests, mainland China attempted to influence Taiwan's presidential elections and the future policies of the winner of those elections. This third Taiwan Strait crisis received a great deal of international attention.

From the most recent Taiwan Strait crisis we can see how the military situation in the Taiwan Strait has evolved since the previous such crisis 40 years ago. It is now characterized by two new features: high-technology military conflict, and uncertainty about when a cross-strait conflict might occur. Every day that the Taiwan Strait problem persists, a crisis could break out, and such a crisis will take the form of high-technology warfare. Modeling a Taiwan Strait crisis

The 1990 Persian Gulf War was a shock to the international community. The shock was not limited to the political front. The war was also extremely revealing in military terms. According to Wong Ming-hsien, director of the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University, the high-technology warfare used by the US and its allies in the Persian Gulf stimulated the PRC to begin rethinking its strategy. Mainland China has decided to move from an emphasis on quantity to one on quality. The PRC's new national defense strategy is to streamline its military forces and raise technology levels.

Wong says that the PRC could choose one of several forms for starting a Taiwan Strait crisis in the future. These include "quasi-military conflict," "small-scale military conflict," and "full-scale military conflict."

Quasi-military conflict refers to the deployment, but not first use, of military power. It may take the form of military exercises. The PRC missile tests in 1995 and 1996 are examples. Quasi-military conflict may also take the form of blockade. For example the PRC could blockade the shipment of supplies to Taiwan's offshore islands, cutting them off but not initiating the fighting. Or it could attempt to blockade Taiwan itself, cutting off Taiwan's external trade links either through long-distance blockade or close-in blockade.

Small-scale military conflict could be an attack against Taiwan's offshore islands. The PRC could attack the offshore islands in an attempt to force Taiwan into negotiations on the PRC's terms. Of Taiwan's offshore islands, because Kinmen and Matsu are in a high state of military readiness, it would be costly to attack them. Thus, the PRC could choose to assault those islands in the South China Sea which are currently occupied by ROC forces. Another possible form of small-scale military conflict would be the use of surface-to-surface guided missiles. Since the political effectiveness of such missiles against offshore islands would be limited, these would more likely be targeted against political or economic centers in Taiwan itself.

The goal of full-scale military conflict would be to destroy Taiwan's military capacity and will to fight. Geographically, it would not be limited to offshore islands, but would cover the air and seas around Taiwan and Penghu, or even involve a PRC landing on Taiwan itself.

In discussing full-scale conflict, many people are most concerned about whether the PRC would use nuclear weapons. Wong Ming-hsien says that under current conditions there is a very low possibility of the PRC using nuclear weapons against Taiwan. The main reason is because of international political considerations. In the defense white paper issued by the PRC earlier this year, the PRC says it "will not be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstances," and moreover "unconditionally promises that it will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against countries or areas which do not have nuclear weapons." If mainland China were to use nuclear weapons in a cross-strait war, thus breaking its commitment, this would create a tremendous international backlash, resulting in incalculable political consequences. Thus the PRC's nuclear weapons remain mainly for strategic deterrence. Paralyzing strike

Clearly there are many forms that a PRC-instigated Taiwan Strait crisis could take. However, according to Professor Chung Chien, a specialist in nuclear sciences and an expert on the PRC's "Peoples Liberation Army" (PLA), the most likely form that future PRC military action would take would be a "paralyzing" strategy to bring Taiwan to its knees in a rapid, bloodless fashion. In this regard, a long-distance blockade would perhaps have the greatest strategic advantage.

In terms of geostrategy, Taiwan is an island state. It depends on sea transport for more than 99% of its imports and exports. In particular, its economy depends on petroleum imported from the Middle East, North Africa, England, and Indonesia. If the PRC adopted a long-distance blockade, it could intercept oil tankers headed for the ROC in the South China Sea. If petroleum shipments did not arrive in a timely fashion, Taiwan would quickly be paralyzed.

In contrast, the possibility of direct action against Taiwan is not high. The greatest consideration is time. A full-scale war would involve tremendous effort. A close-in blockade of Taiwan's coast and airfields, or guerrilla war (which is hardly suitable for invading a democratic society) are not types of warfare which would serve the PRC's interests. Because Taiwan occupies an important strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region, and because the US has always paid close attention to developments in the Taiwan Strait, if the PRC could not achieve a rapid and complete victory in an outright conflict, there would be numerous opportunities for foreign powers to intervene politically or militarily. This would be extremely disadvantageous to the PRC. PRC military modernization

According to the PRC's national defense white paper for this year, mainland China has realized that there is a global trend toward domination of the battlefield through high-technology weapons. Therefore, the PLA is aggressively "moving along the path of a streamlined, high-quality military with Chinese characteristics." The PRC plans to reduce its total armed forces by 500,000 men within three years, so that the PLA will stabilize at a level of about 2.5 million personnel.

In terms of strategic deployments, one of the PRC's strategic goals for the new era is to be able to "win a partial or regional war under high-tech conditions." Moreover, the focus of strategic attention has been shifted from the north to the southeast. Main force units have been transferred from the PRC's northern borders to its southeast coast. Also, high-technology "active defense" has replaced "People's War" (which relied on massed manpower) as the main strategic concept. And there has been a shift from "inland defense" to "coastal defense"; they are extending the front line of defense into the Pacific Ocean. In order to achieve its new goals, the PRC has been buying or developing (with the help of hired Russian experts) SU-27 fighters, inter-continental ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles, and is forming a naval task force capable of independent operational capability.

General Tang Fei, chief of the ROC general staff, judges that there are a number of objectives behind the PRC's transformation of its military strategy. It hopes to raise its political status at a global level and at the Asia-Pacific regional level through the development of a high-technology operational capability. It also aims to increase its capability to deal with domestic and border area instability. Besides these, however, and of more immediate interest to Taiwan, another of the main goals behind mainland China's new strategy is to maintain a reliable military threat to cope with Taiwan and its so-called "separatist tendencies."

According to the recent ROC national defense report, under the PRC's new strategy of "active defense," it has already begun to shift its focus from a past emphasis on land warfare (with air and naval forces playing purely supportive roles) to combined operations (with greatly increased importance for the naval and air components). From July 1995 to March 1996, the PLA staged seven sets of live-fire exercises in the Nanjing military region in which it rehearsed attacks on Taiwan. Similar exercises have continued over the last two years. (Please see the accompanying table.) The PRC already could. . .

In addition, in the last two years, the PRC has formed a "Rapid Reaction Force," constructed military facilities on the southeast coast, and upgraded arms and equipment. It has also established a variety of command, control, communication, and intelligence systems to support its new deployments. Finally, as noted earlier, it has undertaken a number of military exercises aimed at Taiwan. According to the ROC Ministry of Defense, the PRC already has the ability to mount sea or air attacks against Taiwan, to partially or completely blockade the island, or to assault offshore islands. If the PRC were to mobilize forces for an attack against Taiwan, the following capabilities would be at its disposal (please also see the accompanying graphic):

Land forces: The 31st army group in Fujian has approximately 80,000 troops. In addition, it would be possible to mobilize about 260,000 soldiers from the Rapid Reaction Force and strategic reserves in other military districts.

Naval forces: The PRC could use submarines and mobilize motorized fishing vessels to undertake an extended blockade of Taiwan. It could deploy mines in the waters surrounding Taiwan and outlying islands. Using its amphibious capability, it could land a reinforced division. Finally, motorized fishing boats could ferry as many as 350,000 well-equipped support troops across the strait should a beachhead be established in Taiwan.

Air forces: There are 13 military and civilian air fields within 250 nautical miles of Taiwan. As many as 1200 aircraft could attack in a single wave. In addition, the PRC has 59 air transport planes which could carry two airborne regiments for a parachute assault.

Rocket forces: The PRC's DF-15 and DF-21 rockets could be targeted directly at important political, economic, and military sites in Taiwan. This remains the military option posing the greatest threat to Taiwan. Second-generation forces

Faced with changes in the global strategic situation and Communist China's unrelenting buildup of its military capacity, does the ROC have the ability to defend itself against attack from the PRC? General Tang outlines several steps taken by Taiwan to update its military posture vis-a-vis the PRC: The ROC military has abandoned its past strategic goal of having a military which, beyond defending Taiwan, would also be capable of invading mainland China. Strategy now focuses on defense against and effective deterrence of a PLA attack. The ROC is in the midst of a reorganization and restructuring of its military, which is scheduled to run from 1998 to 2001. It is building a new generation of military forces based on the principles of smaller numbers, higher quality, and high operational capability.

The new generation of military forces in the ROC will feature greater automation in weaponry, a much stronger missile component in the land forces, and "3-D" coordination integrating all three branches of the service. There will be fewer soldiers, but more firepower and operational capability.

General Tang indicates that Taiwan's military has already had a number of concrete successes in raising its operational capability. In terms of air power, Taiwan has successfully developed and begun to manufacture its own indigenous defense fighter (IDF), called the Chingkuo; it has also purchased F-16 fighters from the US and Mirage-2000 fighters and air defense missiles from France. These are steadily coming into service. In terms of naval power, there's a new generation of warships, including Chengkung-class, Kangting-class, and Chiyang-class ships. These can effectively undertake counter-blockade, patrol, escort, and anti-submarine missions. In terms of land power, armed helicopter and reconnaissance-and-destroy helicopter units have been established, significantly raising the capability of the ROC military to bring firepower to bear on the ground from airborne platforms. In addition, the development and construction of various missiles also promises to raise the fighting capability of the ROC at all levels. Defend against what is likely to attack

The goal of second generation military upgrading in the ROC is "to possess what is needed to fight what is out there." The goal is to build a high-technology military capable of deterring the PRC and conforming to the new strategic situation. However, it must be said that at present the Taiwan military is far from completing its high-tech re-armament.

The ROC and PRC both purchase weapons abroad and manufacture them domestically. General Tang states that since 1991, the PRC has purchased a large number of SU-27 fighters and AA-10 medium-range air-to-air missiles. At present, the ROC Air Force's F-16 fighters are equipped with the AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, which cannot ensure air superiority for the ROC in the face of the AA-10. Therefore, at present, the ROC needs advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles which are superior to the AA-10.

Another need is submarines. The PRC has an enormous undersea force and has been developing nuclear subs. Meanwhile, Taiwan has only four subs, two of which are re-fitted submarines used by the US in World War II (they are outdated and useful only for training). The current ROC submarine force cannot effectively undertake counter blockade missions. Therefore, the purchase of new submarines is urgent.

Taiwan's main achievements in terms of homemade high-technology weaponry fall mainly under three categories: aircraft, ships, and missiles. In terms of aircraft, the Chingkuo fighter went into mass production in June 1994. The ROC plans to produce 130 of them. The first fighter wing of these planes is already in service. As for missiles, a number of types have completed development, entered mass production, or entered service. These include Sky Sword I and II air-to-air missiles, Sky Bow I and II surface-to-air missiles, and Hsiung Feng II ship-to-ship missiles. Finally, with regard to warships, the guided missile frigates Chengkung and Chengho have already come into service, and the Panchao and Changfeng have completed construction and are in the "shakedown" process. In addition, the Chinchiang-class coastal patrol boats are in service. Other ship-building plans will continue to go forward.

The PRC also has had successes in high-technology weapons development. These include completed development and manufacture of Luhai class destroyers and Jiangwei escort vessels, continued development of J-10 and FC-1 fighters, production of the multiple-warhead DF-5 missile and the DF-13 strategic missile, and development of a long-range guided missile. Foreign and domestic sourcing

Chung Chien says that because the two countries are so different, there's no way to accurately compare their domestic weapons-making capability. Although in the past the mainland aimed to achieve 100% domestic production in weapons, and even to export weapons, given current levels of technology, the PRC, like Taiwan, faces the problem of a low domestic content rate in key weapons systems.

Ou Si-fu, an associate researcher at the Institute for National Policy Research, says that both sides of the Taiwan Strait must rely on foreign technology in high-tech weapons manufacturing. For example, for the ROC's Indigenous Defense Fighter, 60% of the necessary parts must be imported. In particular, manufacturing technology for that most vital component, the engine, must still be supplied by the US.

For the PRC, in its current joint production of the SU-27 with Russia, mainland China will eventually do, at most, only the last 70% of the production process. The most important initial technology for the aircraft's manufacture, such as the AL-31F engine, has not been transferred by Russia to the PRC; this is because Russia does not want to lose its technological edge over the PRC.

While foreign technology is for the moment irreplaceable, Taiwan and mainland China have both met considerable difficulties in purchasing high-technology weapons abroad. It is true that, as Chung Chien says, the restructuring of the military on the two sides is a simple generational evolution given considerations of the changing global strategic environment, and is not an arms race per se. However, given that arms sellers (those countries with a leading edge in technology) have their own interests to consider, the ROC and PRC must, in purchasing high-tech weapons, take into account the political, strategic, and economic situations in the arms-selling countries. In this respect, Taiwan, whose diplomatic space is restricted by PRC pressure, finds arms purchases particularly difficult.

Though the United States remains Taiwan's main outside source of arms, due to domestic and diplomatic considerations, the US policy on weapons sales to Taiwan is subject to frequent change. Meanwhile, France and Holland, being less directly subject to PRC political pressure and due to economic considerations in their home countries, have sold small numbers of fighter aircraft and submarines (respectively) to Taiwan, but they are unlikely to be long-term sources.

Lin Cheng-yi, a research fellow at the Institute of European and American Studies of the Academia Sinica, explains: "Even though the US continues arms sales to Taiwan, the supply of major weapons systems will certainly decline. . . . For example, it will become increasingly difficult to purchase high-tech weaponry like F-16 fighters or submarines. Under these circumstances, it becomes even more important to integrate and raise the overall operational capability of current weapons systems."

In this respect, Taiwan still has much room for improvement. For example, there is a great need to improve the operation and maintenance of existing weapons systems, as well as for more war games and live exercises. The third wave

Even as the second generation of weapons comes on line in the Taiwan Strait and defense strategies evolve, yet another wave of high-tech warfare is stealthily taking shape. Lin Chong-pin, vice-chairman of the ROC's Mainland Affairs Council and an expert on the PLA, says that the development of third-wave weapons has already begun in the Taiwan Strait. The so-called third wave of warfare will involve striking at the enemy's information nerve centers, or, as the Chinese Communists call it, "acupuncture warfare" (so called because acupuncture numbs a patient by the insertion of needles at key nerve centers).

Lin says that this type of warfare is divided into "hard kill" and "soft kill." The former includes the use of missiles to paralyze an opponent's electrical systems and to destroy computer command centers, rendering weapons useless. In this type of warfare, weapons featuring high-energy lasers, microwaves, or wireless radio waves can destroy an opponent's weapons systems. Meanwhile, the "soft kill" type of warfare, called "information war," mainly involves the use of computer viruses and electronic interference to destroy military computer networks.

Lin adds that information warfare suits the PRC's economic conditions quite well. This is because this type of warfare is "asymmetrical." Advanced countries have the advantage of a high-level of computerization, but in information warfare, this becomes their Achilles' heel. Countries with a low-level of information technology can attack this weak point. The "asymmetrical" model in fact is very applicable to the current state of affairs in the Taiwan Strait, in which the ROC is far more "wired in" to information technology than is the PRC.

"By 2010, if there's been no qualitative political change in mainland China, or Taiwan has not developed any counter-measures against acupuncture warfare, given the PRC's current active preparation for information warfare, this could become a serious threat to us," warns Lin. No provocations, no backing down

Whatever forms warfare have taken or may take, the main goal of the ROC government has been and will remain to avoid bloodshed and resolve the Taiwan Strait problem peacefully.

Liu Pi-jung, a professor in the Department of Political Science at Soochow University, points out that although at present the PRC is unlikely to do anything to threaten Taiwan, Taiwan must avoid presenting the PRC military with any temptations. If Taiwan's military capability becomes too weak, the PRC could attack Taiwan at a very low cost. The PRC would feel a great temptation to take advantage of such an opportunity. Correspondingly, if the PRC feels that Taiwan's military capability is growing to the point of threatening its interests irrevocably, a war could also break out.

Surmounting difficulties in arms purchases and domestic production, maintaining a balance between excessive weakness and strength, and maintaining the military balance in the Taiwan Strait are the greatest challenges facing the ROC military today.

A Comparison of ROC and PRC Military Capabilities

ROC

PRC

Land Forces

Characteristics

*Focus on destroying the enemy in the air and at sea, to prevent any landings *Main force deployments shifting to southeast coast of China

Equipment

*160 helicopters (attack, general purpose, search and destroy), 1300 M60 A3 and M48H main battle tanks, 1400 guns (artillery) *14000 tanks, 1300 towed guns, 2100 multiple rocket launchers, 1500 self-propelled guns

Naval Forces

Characteristics

*Combined operations with land and air forces to resist blockade, assault, or invasion from sea *Seaborne rapid response task force deployed to southeast coast

Equipment

*4 submarines, 30 warships, 20 Hughes 500-MD and Sikorsky S70C(M) anti-submarine helicopters *2700 warships of all types, armed with C-802 ship-to-ship missiles, Red Flag HQ-61 land- and ship-based surface-to-air missiles, Crotale ship-to-air missiles, 3 Russian Type 877 EMK and Type 636 Kilo-class submarines

Air Forces

Characteristics

*Capabilities: air defense and interception, anti-submarine warfare, close support, electronic warfare *600 aircraft on airfields within range of Taiwan

Equipment

*400-plus aircraft, including F-5Es, Chingkuo fighters, F-16s, Mirage 2000-5s, AWACS, and S-2T anti-submarine aircraft *5000 aircraft of all types including Chengdu J-7 Shenyang J-8, and Sukhoi Su-27 planes
A Comparison of ROC and PRC Military Capabilities

ROC

PRC

Land Forces

Characteristics

*Focus on destroying the enemy in the air and at sea, to prevent any landings *Main force deployments shifting to southeast coast of China

Equipment

*160 helicopters (attack, general purpose, search and destroy), 1300 M60 A3 and M48H main battle tanks, 1400 guns (artillery) *14000 tanks, 1300 towed guns, 2100 multiple rocket launchers, 1500 self-propelled guns

Naval Forces

Characteristics

*Combined operations with land and air forces to resist blockade, assault, or invasion from sea *Seaborne rapid response task force deployed to southeast coast

Equipment

*4 submarines, 30 warships, 20 Hughes 500-MD and Sikorsky S70C(M) anti-submarine helicopters *2700 warships of all types, armed with C-802 ship-to-ship missiles, Red Flag HQ-61 land- and ship-based surface-to-air missiles, Crotale ship-to-air missiles, 3 Russian Type 877 EMK and Type 636 Kilo-class submarines

Air Forces

Characteristics

*Capabilities: air defense and interception, anti-submarine warfare, close support, electronic warfare *600 aircraft on airfields within range of Taiwan

Equipment

*400-plus aircraft, including F-5Es, Chingkuo fighters, F-16s, Mirage 2000-5s, AWACS, and S-2T anti-submarine aircraft *5000 aircraft of all types including Chengdu J-7 Shenyang J-8, and Sukhoi Su-27 planes
PRC Military Exercises, 1995-1997

Military District

Type

Routine training

Routine maneuvers

"Directed maneuvers"

Total

Year

1995

1996

1997

1995

1996

1997

1995

1996

1997

Chengdu

3

4

3

1

         

11

Shenyang

3

4

6

1

1

2

     

17

Lanzhou

3

4

3

1

5

1

     

17

Beijing

4

6

8

1

1

       

20

Guangzhou

9

4

9

1

1

1

     

25

Jinan

3

7

8

3

5

2

1

   

29

Nanjing

12

25

12

2

2

5

3

3

 

64

Subtotals

37

54

49

10

15

11

4

3

 

183

Totals

140

36

7

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