China’s centenarians pose a triple threat

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  • By Huang Wei-ping

On November 23, the Legislative Yuan approved a bill authorizing the government to establish a special budget of up to NT $ 240 billion ($ 8.66 billion) for the purchase of weapons through the end of 2026. .

The law allows the government to draw on a special budget to finance the increased production of a range of important native military weapons, including the Hsiung Feng III (“Brave Wind”) supersonic anti-ship missiles, Tien Kung air missiles (“Sky Bow”). defense missiles and the Hsiung Feng IIE cruise missile, which has medium-range ground attack capability.

The government’s 2026 goal of bolstering and re-equipping the Taiwanese military fits perfectly with an assessment made in March by U.S. Navy Admiral Philip Davidson, who commanded the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command from May 2018 to April, that Taiwan could face an attack from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) within the next six years, or before 2027.

This year – 2027 – marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PLA. There are two other important anniversaries for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP): This year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, is when Chinese officials have consistently declared that they will achieve a “moderately prosperous” society. , and 2049, which marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, when the party plans to make China a “powerful modern socialist country.”

These two milestones are abbreviated as “two hundred” by the party, but there is now one more. To realize the “dream of strong armed forces” of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), the party announced late last year the goal of achieving “an overall improvement in training and war preparations, and improve the military’s strategic ability to safeguard China’s sovereignty. , security and development interests.

The year set for reaching the goal is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, or 2027. In other words, the “two 100” has been extended to the “three 100”.

The policy of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) of secretly boosting China’s strength – tao guang yang hui (韜光養晦, “to keep your sword in the scabbard during the day and hone your skills after dark” ) – has been supplanted by Xi’s open approach: ostentatious displays of military might and “wolf warrior” diplomacy.

The government’s decision to set aside a special defense budget at this time is clearly a response not only to Beijing’s cries but also to Washington’s stern warnings. Increased defense spending and modernization of military materiel demonstrates to regional allies Taiwan’s determination to defend itself and increases Beijing’s costing of an attack on Taiwan. The budget increases vigilance and acts as a deterrent.

Huang Wei-ping is a former think tank researcher.

Translated by Edward Jones

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