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Once Formidable, Taiwan’s Military Now Overshadowed by China’s

中国阴影下,黯然失色的台湾军事

ZUOYING NAVAL BASE, Taiwan — The Hai Pao, one of Taiwan’s four navy submarines, began its service as the Tusk, an American vessel launched in August 1945 at the end of World War II. Its sister submarine, the Hai Shih, is a year older. Neither can fire torpedoes today, though they can still lay mines.

台湾左营海军营地——台湾海军的四艘潜艇中,“海豹号”(Hai Pao)于1945年8月“二战”快结束时开始服役,当时它的身份还是美国的“长牙号”(Tusk)。它的姐妹潜艇“海狮号”(Hai Shih)服役时间比它还要长一年。如今,两艘潜艇都无法发射鱼雷,不过仍有布雷能力。

The submarines, said Feng Shih-kuan, Taiwan’s minister of national defense, “belong in a museum.”

台湾国防部长冯世宽(Feng Shih-kuan)说,两艘潜艇都“应该进博物馆了”。

The Hai Pao — with its paint-encrusted pipes, antiquated engines and a brass dial with a needle to measure speed in knots — will instead remain in service past its 80th birthday, a relic of a military that once was one of Asia’s most formidable. Taiwan’s aging submarine fleet is but one measure of how far the military balance across the Taiwan Strait has tilted in favor of the island’s rival, mainland China.

“海豹号”将继续服役到80岁。油漆在管道表面结成了硬壳,引擎已经老旧,黄铜刻度盘上还有一根用来测量以节为单位的潜艇速度的指针。这是一支曾是亚洲最难对付的军队遗留下来的老古董。台湾日渐陈旧的潜艇舰队,是台湾海峡两岸的军事平衡向台湾的对手大陆有利的方向偏离程度的衡量尺度。

A military modernization overseen by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, whose political power reached new heights after last month’s Communist Party congress in Beijing, has proceeded in leaps and bounds, lifted by hefty budget increases that have already made China the world’s No. 2 military spender after the United States, though it is a distant second.

上月在北京召开的共产党全国代表大会结束后,中国国家主席习近平的政治权力达到新高度。在预算大幅增加的带动下,由他领导的军事现代化进展迅速,中国已经成为全球仅次于美国的第二大军费开支国,不过与美国仍相差甚远。

Taiwan’s armed forces, by contrast, have fallen way behind, struggling to recruit enough soldiers and sailors — and to equip those they have. A major obstacle is that countries that might sell it the most sophisticated weaponry are increasingly reluctant to do so for fear of provoking China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. The unwillingness to anger China extends even to the United States, on which Taiwan has long depended for its defense.

相比之下,台湾的武装部队远远落后,难以招募到足够的士兵和海员,并为现有人员配备装备。一个主要障碍是,可能会把最精密的武器卖给台湾的国家越来越不愿意这么做,因为害怕激怒宣称台湾是其领土一部分的中国。不愿惹怒中国的这种情况,甚至发展到了美国。台湾的防卫长期依靠美国。

This shifting balance affects more than just Taiwan. The Taiwan Strait was once Asia’s most ominous flash point, with the potential to drag the United States into war with China. Now, it is just one of several potential hot spots between a more assertive China and its neighbors.

这种不断转变的平衡影响的不仅仅是台湾。台湾海峡一度是亚洲形势最紧张的冲突触发点,有把美国拖入与中国发生战争的可能。现在,它只是更加强硬的中国与邻国之间的多个潜在热点地区之一。

Taiwan’s experience could be a cautionary tale to Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and others in the region who are also warily watching China’s rising military capabilities.

对于日本、韩国、越南,以及该地区其他同样警惕中国军力日益强大的国家来说,台湾的教训值得引以为戒。

“A small snake does not make nearby frogs, chickens and ducks feel threatened,” Mr. Feng, the minister, said in an interview, “but when it grows to be a python, even nearby pigs, oxen, horses and goats feel a threat to their survival.”

“小蛇不会让邻近的青蛙、鸡、鸭感到威胁,”冯世宽在接受采访时说,“但某天当它变成巨蟒时,旁边的猪、牛、马、羊的生存环境绝对会感到威胁。”

Adding to the unease has been uncertainty over United States policy under President Trump. As he makes his first visit to Asia, allies and others will look for signals about the depth of the American military commitment to the region.

特朗普总统上任后,美国政策的不确定性增添了人们的不安。在他首次出访亚洲之际,美国的盟友及其他国家将留意观察,以期探明美国在该地区的军事投入究竟会有多少。

When he was still president-elect, Mr. Trump initially signaled a more fulsome embrace of Taiwan by accepting a congratulatory phone call from its president, Tsai Ing-wen. Since taking office, he has shown more deference to China in hopes of winning its support in the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

还是候任总统的时候,特朗普就曾接听台湾总统蔡英文的祝贺电话,表现出对台湾的一种更热情的接纳。上任之后,他对中国表示了更多尊重,希望在美国同朝鲜的核对峙中赢得中国支持。

When the Trump administration approved a new package of arms sales to Taiwan this summer, it was worth a relatively modest $1.4 billion, less than the $1.8 billion package approved by President Barack Obama two years ago. The sales have included missiles, radar equipment and other military gear, but they stopped short of the major systems that could give Taiwan a real edge.

今年夏天,特朗普政府批准了价值14亿美元的对台最新军售,这个数字相对较少,低于两年前贝拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)总统批准的18亿美元军售。这批军售包括导弹、雷达设备和其他军事装备,但是缺乏能给台湾带来真正优势的重要系统。

Any weakening of the American defense commitment “is what Taiwan worries about most,” said Lu Cheng-fu, an assistant professor at National Quemoy University on Kinmen, an island held by Taiwan that sits just four miles from the Chinese coast.

台湾国立金门大学助理教授陆成福(音)说,美国防务投入的任何削弱都是“台湾最担心的事情”,该校坐落在台湾控制的金门岛上,距离中国海岸只有四英里。

“We need to resist a Chinese military attack for two weeks and wait for help from the United States or the international community,” said Mr. Lu, echoing a strategy that has been at the core of Taiwan’s defense doctrine for decades.

“我们需要能抵御两周的中国军事进攻,等待美国或国际社会的帮助,”陆成福说,几十年来,这一点一直是台湾防务体系的核心战略。

China has made no secret of its desire to absorb Taiwan, and China’s military routinely drills to do so by force, if necessary. It has even built a scale replica of Taiwan’s presidential building at its largest military training base in Inner Mongolia.

中国并不讳言吞并台湾的愿望,其军队经常进行在必要时动用武力占领台湾的演习,军方在其最大的内蒙古训练基地内甚至建造了台湾总统府的仿制品

China’s armed forces have long outnumbered and outspent Taiwan’s. China now has 800,000 active combat troops in its ground forces, compared with 130,000 in Taiwan; its budget last year was $144 billion, compared with Taiwan’s $10 billion, according to the Pentagon’s most recent annual report on the Chinese military. (Congress approved a $700 billion Pentagon budget in September, with an even larger increase than President Trump had requested.)

中国军队的人数和开支远超台湾。根据五角大楼最近一份关于中国军队的年度报告,如今中国拥有现役地面作战部队80万人,台湾只有13万人;中国去年的军费预算是1440亿美元,而台湾的预算只有100亿美元。(美国国会在九月批准了7000亿美元的五角大楼预算,增幅比特朗普总统所要求的还要大。)

To defend itself, Taiwan has relied on geography — a mountainous main island 80 miles across a windswept strait — and the support of the United States.

台湾主岛遍布山地,与中国相隔一条80英里长的多风海峡,为保护自己,它需要依靠这样的地理环境,以及美国的支持。

However, China’s military modernization has “eroded or negated many of Taiwan’s historical advantages” in deterring a potential attack, the Pentagon report warned in May.

但是,五角大楼5月份的报告警告说,台湾可以遏制中国潜在袭击的“许多历史优势”,已经被中国的军事现代化“削弱或消除了”。

The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 commits the United States to defend the island’s sovereignty, providing “such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary” for Taiwan to protect itself.

1979年的《台湾关系法》(Taiwan Relations Act)要求美国保卫台湾的主权,为台湾提供“数量足以使其维持足够的自卫能力的防卫物资及技术服务”。

While Taiwan still has vocal support in Washington, especially in Congress, China’s economic and military rise has made it harder for the United States to ignore Beijing.

在华盛顿,特别是在国会之中,仍然有支持台湾的声音,然而中国的经济和军事崛起使得美国更加难以忽视北京。

In 1995 and 1996, when China menaced Taiwan with missile tests, President Bill Clinton dispatched two aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Strait. At that time, China backed off, but an intervention now would confront a more potent Chinese military.

1995年和1996年,当中国用导弹试射威胁台湾时,比尔·克林顿(Bill Clinton)总统派遣两艘航空母舰来到台湾海峡。当时中国退缩了。然而如果现在进行干预,就要面对更加强大的中国军队。

China has developed ballistic missiles on mobile launchers that, although untested in battle, would threaten American aircraft carriers. Denying the American military the ability to operate freely around Taiwan would undermine a core element of Taiwan’s strategy.

中国已经研发了可从移动装置上发射的弹道导弹,虽然未经实战检验,但它可以威胁到美国的航空母舰。美军一旦失去在台湾自由行动的能力,台湾战略的核心内容也将受到损害。

In Taiwan, once home to thousands of American air and naval forces before the United States recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1979, Mr. Trump’s election last year raised hopes of more robust support.

在美国于1979年承认中华人民共和国之前,台湾曾经驻扎着数以万计的美国空军和海军,特朗普去年的当选令人们相信,美国有望对台湾提供更为有力的支持。

In the months since, however, there has been a growing realization that diplomacy with China — including Mr. Trump’s very public efforts to build a personal relationship with Mr. Xi — would be the administration’s more pressing priority.

然而在此后的几个月里,越来越多的人意识到,与中国发展外交才是这届政府的当务之急——比如特朗普与习近平建立私人关系的种种相当公开的努力。

Though the arms package announced in the summer was welcomed, it was not nearly enough to help Taiwan keep pace with China’s buildup. More ambitious packages — like one announced by President George W. Bush in 2001 to sell Taiwan eight new diesel-powered submarines that ultimately fizzled out — no longer seem affordable or, for the United States, viable if it wants to maintain relations with Beijing.

今夏宣布的军售是好消息,但还远不足以帮助台湾赶上中国的步伐。如果美国希望继续同北京保持现有的关系,规模更大的军售将是它无法承受的,也根本不可行——比如2001年乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)总统宣布向台湾出售八艘新型柴油动力潜艇的计划,但最后不了了之。

“Taiwan needs to realize that its defense is, ultimately, in its own hands,” said Andrew S. Erickson, a professor with the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

罗得岛州新港的美国海军战争学院(Naval War College)中国海事研究所教授艾立信(Andrew S. Erickson)说:“台湾需要认识到,它的防务最终还是要看自己。”

During a recent visit to Hawaii, Ms. Tsai responded to concerns about the imbalance by pledging to increase military spending 2 percent a year. She also promised to make more funds available for purchases of larger weapons.

在最近一次访问夏威夷期间,蔡英文回应了有关防务不平衡的担忧,承诺每年增加2%的军费。她还承诺拨出更多资金购买更大型的武器。

Since being elected in January 2016, Ms. Tsai has also promoted a plan to expand the island’s indigenous defense industry. Among the most ambitious of the projects envisioned is one to build its own fleet of diesel-powered submarines.

2016年1月当选之后,蔡英文还推出了扩大岛内本土国防工业的计划。其中最为雄心勃勃的项目之一是建立台湾自己的柴油动力潜艇舰队。

In choosing a defense minister, she turned to Mr. Feng, an air force general who spent 39 years in uniform before retiring in 2006 to become chairman of Taiwan’s largest defense company. In January, he announced that Taiwan would seek to develop its own stealth fighters to counter China’s introduction of stealth jets.

在挑选国防部长时,她想到了冯世宽。冯曾是空军上将,从戎39年,2006年退役后担任台湾最大的防卫公司的董事长。1月,他宣布台湾将努力开发自己的隐形战斗机,以对抗中国的隐形战机

Until such programs are off the ground, Taiwan must rely on aging matériel.

在此类项目完成之前,台湾必须依靠老化的军需物资。

Its two other submarines were built by the Netherlands in the 1980s. By contrast, China, according to the Pentagon report, has 59 attack submarines, including five that are nuclear-powered.

它的另外两艘潜艇是上世纪80年代由荷兰建造的。相比之下,根据五角大楼的报告,中国拥有59艘攻击型潜艇,其中五艘是核动力潜艇。

“Regardless of whether you are talking about the quantity or the quality of our submarines,” the Hai Pao’s captain, Wang Kuo-min, said onboard, “there is a very big gap between us and the Chinese Communist contingent.”

“不管是从潜艇的数量还是质量上讲,”海豹号舰长王国民在舰上说,“我们和中共军队之间存在很大差距。”

Some experts say that given China’s overwhelming numerical advantage in weaponry, Taiwan should focus less on big platforms like submarines and more on lower-cost weapons like antiaircraft and anti-ship missiles that can blunt China’s superiority.

有些专家表示,鉴于中国的武器装备在数量上具有巨大优势,台湾应该减少对潜艇等大型平台的关注,更多地关注能削弱中国优势的低成本武器,比如防空导弹和反舰导弹。

“Taiwan needs to invest in things that give us new and asymmetric capabilities and can be operational in three to five years,” said Yu Hsiao-pin, who has served on Taiwan’s National Security Council.

“台湾需要在那些能让我们具备新的非对称战力的武器上投资,那些能在三至五年内投入使用的武器,”曾在台湾国家安全局任职的余晓平(音)表示。

In the meantime, China keeps ratcheting up the pressure. Its aircraft routinely probe Taiwan’s airspace, forcing Taiwan’s fighters to respond on at least eight occasions so far this year. In July, China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, traversed the Taiwan Strait in a show of force.

与此同时,中国不断加大压力。它的飞机经常探查台湾领空,迫使台湾的战斗机今年至少作出8次回应。7月,中国第一艘航空母舰“辽宁号”穿越台湾海峡,进行武力展示。

“We cannot allow the situation to become routine,” said Col. Hsieh Chu-yuan, political warfare director of the 455th Tactical Fighter Wing, whose F-16s scramble from the island’s main air force base at Chiayi.

“我们不能让这种情况成为常态,”第455战术战斗机联队政战主任谢庆源上校说。该联队的F-16战斗机会从嘉义的台湾主要空军基地起飞。

The F-16s, bought from the United States in 1992, now face off against increasingly sophisticated Chinese jets, including, soon, the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter. Taiwan has no choice but to use the weaponry that it has to deter China, said Mr. Feng, the defense minister.

1992年从美国购买的F-16战斗机,现在要面对着越来越精良的中国喷气式战机,不久将包括歼-20隐形战斗机。冯世宽表示,台湾别无选择,只能使用现有的武器遏制中国。

“Taiwan can’t match China jet for jet, boat for boat,” he said, but that hardly leaves it defenseless.

他说,“从战斗机和舰艇的数量对比来讲,台湾比不上中国”,但这并不意味着它毫无抵抗力。

“Any attempts to harm Taiwan’s people or invade its territory,” he said, “will come at a great cost.”

“若有任何武力要侵犯我国,我们绝对不会坐以待毙,”他说,“一定会让敌国付出该有的代价。”

Steven Lee Myers自台湾左营海军营地、嘉义空军基地、台北和金门,Chris Horton自台北和金门报道。

欢迎在Twitter上关注本文作者Steven Lee Myers@stevenleemyersChris Horton@heguisen

翻译:纽约时报中文网

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