China: April 6, 2004


Taiwanese politicians are beginning to complain about the declining state of military training. Young men are now more prone to complain of the rigors of military training, and parents have more frequently complained to politicians. As a result, basic training has been made "more bearable" and readiness in many combat units has declined. American military observers have been complaining to senior Taiwanese commanders, and now it's become a political issue. One thing spurring this debate is the growing military power of China. By the end of this year, China is expected to have over 200 Russian Su-27 class warplanes in service. The various versions of the Su-27 (like the Su-30) are roughly equivalent to the American F-15. China is allowing its pilots to fly more hours a month and is training more air force maintenance personnel (so that the Su-27s can be used more intensively.)  China is buying electronic warfare equipment from Russia that was designed to disrupt the American made radars and electronics. 

Taiwan military planners see China having sufficient military power to have a chance at successfully conquering Taiwan as early as 2006. In response, Taiwan is buying new early warning radars and anti-aircraft weapons. Taiwan has only some 330 modern fighters and is planning to upgrade them soon. Many Taiwanese believe that American support, especially military support, is the ultimate guarantor of their freedom from Communist China.



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