A National Security Bureau official told the Liberty Times, the Taipei Times' sister newspaper, that China is about to deploy land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs) within striking distance of Taiwan on a large scale beginning later this year in an effort to bypass Taiwan's current missile defense capabilities.
"The US Department of Defense will underscore China's deployment of cruise missiles against Taiwan in its annual report on China's military power, which is expected to be released in May," he was quoted by the paper yesterday as saying.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) will deploy about 200 cruise missiles late this year or early next year and increase the deployments in coming years, the official told the paper.
He said the deployment of cruise missiles would seriously threaten Taiwanese and US forces in East Asia. The US is concerned about the PLA's improving cruise missile capabilities, he added.
The official said that, although Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) has said he would discuss a withdrawal of ballistic missiles deployed within striking range of Taiwan with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) during his trip to China, the removal of the missiles would not substantially increase Taiwan's security, because the missiles can be redeployed in a very short time.
If Beijing really wants to extend an olive branch to Taiwan, it should destroy the missiles, rather than merely withdrawing them, he said.
By next year China will have nearly 1,000 ballisitic missiles deployed within striking distance of Taiwan, the official told the Liberty Times.
Lin Tsung-ta (
The PLA's land-attack cruise missiles forces included HN-1A, HN-2A/B, HN-3A, C-301, C-802, and HY-4 missiles, he said. These missiles are able to attack targets more accurately than ballistic missiles, which might make the PLA more confident about its ability to launch a decapitation strike against Taiwan, Lin said.
He said the PLA is developing supersonic cruise missiles, and that without acquiring cutting-edge over-the-horizon target acquisition" equipment, Taiwan's currently deployed Patriot missile batteries would be unable to intercept the PLA's missiles.
In addition, he said, the PLA currently has two types of submarine-launched cruise missiles, the HN-2C and HN-3B, both of which can travel more than 1,200kph. China's ship-launched cruise missiles include advanced SS-N-22 and CTF-1 type missiles. The SS-N-22 is an advanced supersonic cruise missile, and the CTF-1 can be launched from warships 1,200km away from its target.
He said during a conflict, the PLA's warships and submarines would likely be deployed in the seas east of Taiwan to launch cruise missiles against military facilities on the east coast.
With the development of improved sea-launched cruise missiles, the PLA's missiles would be able to strike Taiwan from multiple directions, therefore rendering Taiwan's current anti-missile defenses less effective, he added.
He said that, after a period of missile attacks from land and sea, PLA fighter jets would likely employ air-launched cruise missiles such as the HN-1B and KH-65SE in an attempt to completely destroy Taiwan's remaining military facilities and capabilities.