Corrida armamentista na Ásia

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Corrida armamentista na Ásia
« em: Setembro 13, 2004, 10:49:24 pm »
Arms Race Feared in Northeast Asia
(Source: Korean Information Service; issued Sept. 11, 2004)
 Despite burgeoning economic cooperation and common views on terror threats, Northeast Asian countries are likely to lead the world in the speed of missile proliferation, experts say.  
The United States, Japan, China and the two Koreas are all building up state-of-the-art defense capabilities as they seek to expand their military roles in tandem with their corresponding to their economic and political status.  
The U.S. transformation of its global forces following the Sept.11, 2001, terror attacks and the U.S. determination not to lose a grip on the region have forced the relevant countries to recalibrate their security postures.  
Analysts agree Washington has been a stabilizing force by maintaining a sizable number of ground troops in the region. They note that the United States, with its global realignment, plans to develop its forces into more agile units to respond better to regional conflicts. At the same time, the United States wants to establish a military position in the region to counter China’s efforts to expand its powers in the region.  
Political scientist Kim Il-young of Sungkyunkwan University expects a domino effect in the arms race in the region if the U.S. military balance wanes.  
“Japan would immediately seek its rearmament, followed by China and Taiwan, to a point of developing nuclear weapons,” he said.  
Analysts say the missile shield will become the first stimulus in a new arms race among Northeast Asian countries because they want to try to outdo each other in missiles and counter-missile technology.  
Japan successfully defined itself as a key U.S. ally by actively agreeing to the request to send units of its Self Defense Forces to Iraq and decided to adopt a U.S.-led missile defense system by 2006, in return for acquiescence to expand its restrained military role.  
Japan has started to discuss revising its constitution by 2007 so that it can rearm its Self-Defense Forces.  
It has only about 258,000 soldiers, fare less than either Korea, but its army, air force and navy forces are estimated to be stronger than China and Russia.  
It has 89 Apache helicopters, about 1,200 fighting tanks and about 1,000 armored vehicles. The South Korean Defense Ministry says Japan earmarked $44 billion for its 2004 defense budget - second after the United States’ $416.2 billion.  
It also decided to deploy four destroyers equipped with the advanced Aegis antimissile system in the East Sea. Ship-to-air guided missiles called SM-3 and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 surface-to-air missiles will also be included in its defense posture.  
Its envisioned introduction by 2005 of aerial refueling tankers also signals a major policy shift for Japan, as it will give its air force the ability to project power well beyond its borders and territorial waters.  
It has emerged a No.1 weapons importer since 2001 and this year is spending about $25 billion on its 2.5 million strong military.  
China is also moving to deploy a military satellite and satellite aircrafts, including Y-8 Airborne Early Warning Aircraft.  
It has been increasing its force of Russian Sukhoi-27/30 fighter jets, which can operate independently in combat over hostile territory and attack enemy airfields.  
The report said a “military competitor with a formidable resource base will emerge,” in a reference to China. It called for a continued strong alliance with Japan if Washington is to preserve a forward military capability in East Asia that “can swiftly defeat an adversary with only modest reinforcement” while sustaining a “favorable balance of military power” in East Asia.  
North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and conventional weapons, which can carry chemical warheads, are a constant source of concern and add insecurity in the region, analysts say.  
A KIDA report entitled “2003-2004 Military Powers in Northeast Asia,” says Pyongyang, which realizes it cannot win a conventional war, has been developing asymmetrical threats such as nuclear and chemical weapons to use them as bargaining chips for its survival.  
Kim Jae-du, a researcher at KIDA, said the North’s reinforcement of missiles was one of the reasons that the United States accelerated its efforts to establish a missile defense system in Northeast Asia, although this could fuel the Northeast Asia arms race.  
Pyongyang is building and deploying intermediate-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets up to 4,000 kilometers away. It has also been testing a new main engine for its long-range intercontinental ballistics missiles, the Daepodong-2, the Defense Ministry said in a report to the parliamentary Defense Committee. The ICBM is capable of reaching U.S. military bases in Alaska or Hawaii.  
Analysts say the North’s mainstay lineup of Scud and Rodong missiles, which fly much shorter distances and can carry chemical warheads, are much more dangerous since they can hit Seoul and neighboring cities.  
Currently, the North has about 600 Scud missiles with ranges of 300 kilometers to 500 kilometers, as well as the Rodong-1 that can go 1,300 kilometers and is capable of reaching most parts of Japan.  


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