China: October 10, 2004


Taiwan wants to buy American HARM (High speed Anti-Radar Missile) missiles, and will probably get them. In the last ten years, the U.S. has sold Taiwan laser guided bombs, Maverick missiles, and modifications for Harpoon missiles (GPS guidance kits) that turn them into short range cruise missiles. The HARM missiles would enable Taiwan to more easily go after China's increasing inventory of modern anti-aircraft radars.  China's latest warships, especially those bought from Russia, contain very capable radar systems. HARM missiles were designed to go after such radars, and destroy them. Taiwan will also probably get JDAM GPS guided bombs. These are more effective than laser guided bombs, especially in cloudy or misty conditions when lasers don't work very well, if at all. China will protest that selling these weapons to Taiwan violates the American promise to not sell Taiwan offensive weapons. But HARM and JDAM are most useful in crippling a Chinese attack force headed for Taiwan, and that's what China is most concerned about, but doesn't want to admit. 


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