Pentagon delegation arrives in Taipei for talks with military
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Pentagon delegation arrives in Taipei for talks with military

Taipei Times | March 17, 2005

By Rich Chang

A US military delegation arrived in Taipei yesterday, and will discuss the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) capabilities with Taiwanese military officials.

A member of the delegation, who requested anonymity, told the Taipei Times that the US saw the possibility of China's launching an attack using asymmetric warfare tactics against Taiwan as increasing.

"The US is concerned as to whether the PLA would be able to start an asymmetric war against Taiwan and whether there exists a fifth column of infiltrators in Taiwan," he said.

He said that the military delegation would also attend a four-day, closed-door unscheduled briefing with the Ministry of National Defense (MND) on the PLA's ability to invade Taiwan.

Meanwhile, National Security Bureau (NSB) Director-General Hsueh Shih-ming ( LΖ ) told the legislature on Monday that, according to NSB statistics, law enforcement officials have documented more than 49,000 Chinese illegal immigrants in Taiwan, and had repatriated more than 45,000 of them. Over 4,000 are missing.

Hsueh said that, while the NSB found that some of them are spying for China in Taiwan, the NSB has yet to uncover any organized activity among Chinese immigrants.

Hsueh, however, admitted that the NSB is concerned that China might use infiltrators to engage in asymmetric warfare against Taiwan, employing such tactics as sabotage and hacker attacks, or using biological and chemical weapons to destroy Taiwan's military infrastructure, command systems, and political and business centers in a short time.

"The goal of such tactics is to devastate the morale of our armed forces and citizens. This threat is strikingly similar to terrorism in nature," he added.

The US delegation member said that in addition to discussing Chinese infiltrators, the delegation would also exchange its views with Taipei on China's increasingly aggressive submarine force.

He said the US is concerned about incursions by Chinese submarines into the waters surrounding Japan and the Pacific Ocean east of Taiwan.

"A Chinese nuclear submarine made an incursion into waters near Okinawa last November, which really angered and affected Japan," he said.

The US is also concerned about China's acquisition of advanced Kilo-class attack submarines from Russia, he said.

He added that the US is seeking to share intelligence with Taiwan about anti-submarine warfare.

He said several delegations of US military personal would be arriving in Taipei in succession to observe the annual Han Kuang (Han Glory) exercises.

In related news, a Chinese newspaper yesterday said that the former commander of US Pacific Command, Admiral Thomas Fargo, will lead the US' biggest-ever delegation to watch this year's war games, which begin next month.

Japan will also send military personnel to Taipei, the paper said.

The report said the nation's military is preparing to conduct joint computer war games with the US and Japan, and the military will link up with the US military's Pacific headquarters in Hawaii for the first time.

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