TAIWAN ACTS TO IMPROVE DEFENSE CAPABILITY
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TAIWAN ACTS TO IMPROVE DEFENSE CAPABILITY

Taipei, Oct. 31 (CNA) Republic of China Defense Minister Tang Fei will report on plans to improve the island's defense capability in the coming years before the Legislative Yuan on Monday.

A prepared Defense Ministry report indicated that by fiscal 2002, Taiwan will complete the second-phase plans of its "strong-net" air defense system through the introduction of advanced jet fighters and early warning aircraft.

According to the report, all 60 French-made Mirage 2000-5 fighter planes have been received by the ROC Air Force, and the delivery of 150 American-made F-16 fighters and 130 indigenous defense fighters will be completed by the fiscal year 2000.

As the United States has agreed to provide two E-2T air defense warning systems, the report noted, the second-phase plans of the "strong-net" air defense system can be completed by fiscal 2002.

With respect to the ROC's naval power, the report said, seven Cheng-kung class, six Kang-ting class and six Chi-yang class missile frigates as well as the first Chin-chiang class coastal patrol vessel have all been in active service.

New procurement plans include an eighth Cheng-kung class missile frigate, 11 Chin-chiang class patrol vessels, 11 American-made S-70C anti-submarine helicopters, and one LSD38 landing vessel.

In the effort to improve the ROC's defensive capability against marine landings, the delivery of 63 AH-1W and 39 OH-58D tanks will be completed by fiscal 2001 and the delivery of 460 M60A3TTS tanks will be completed by the end of 2000.

Regarding missile deployment, the report said that in addition to the existing conventional Tien-kung and improved air defense missile systems, new missile units will be deployed and various additional missile procurements will be made, so as to improve the military's capabilities against blockades and landings. (By Victor Lai)