China has completed a naval exercise in the South China Sea that could help it to counter Taiwanese defenses in the event of an invasion.
The exercise was aimed at neutralizing the types of anti-ship “smart mines” that Taipei has been developing over the past year.
A spokesperson for China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) said Chinese warships were able to find and detonate the mines from “hundreds of meters away.”
A US military source said this development is something that should “certainly concern” Taiwan.
US military advisers have been encouraging Taiwan to develop “smart mines” as a significant part of the nation’s anti-invasion defenses.
The Taipei Times reported in December 2012 that a new generation of “smart mines” was being developed for deployment in shallow water close to the coast, where they would be more effective in stopping enemy landings.
The report said that Taiwan’s west coast features a large number of estuaries — adding to the nation’s vulnerability — as an attacker would not have to invade across beaches, but can move upriver and disembark inland.
While the smart mines remain classified, it was reported that a budget had been approved for their development beginning last year.
It is understood that the mines are hidden on the ocean floor and can be remotely activated to detect enemy ships by their electronic and magnetic signals.
When an enemy ship comes close to a mine, it explodes.
Craig Hooper, a former teacher at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, has reported that the Chinese navy conducted its drills in formation for the first time.
The drills were carried out by ships from the Nanhai Fleet.
“The garrison approached the mines in varied formations corresponding to different conditions. After hours of searching, the flotilla discovered a number of smart mines hundreds of meters away and detonated them upon the commander’s order,” Hooper quoted Xinhua news agency as saying.
Chinese military specialist with the US International Assessment and Strategy Center Richard Fisher told the Taipei Times that the PLAN had one of the largest naval mine inventories in the world for use in both offensive and defensive operations.
Fisher said that over the past decade, the Chinese navy had made much greater investment in counter-mine technologies and new mine-sweeping ships.
“During both blockade or invasion operations against Taiwan, the PLAN will likely employ thousands of naval mines,” Fisher said. “They would be placed in minefields that block off both ends of the Taiwan Strait, as well as outside major Taiwanese ports. The PLA Navy even has torpedo-propelled mines that could swim inside a port and rest on the harbor bottom.”
Fisher was able to throw some light on the possible method used by PLAN to find and destroy “smart mines.”
“For about four years, the PLA Navy has been using a new small counter-mine unmanned underwater vehicle [UUV] to both find and dispatch mines, either by moored type or bottom-dwelling mines,” he said. “Such a UUV would allow the PLA Navy minesweepers to detonate smart mines hundreds of meters from their ship.”
INCONVENIENT: The US’ new air travel policy requires all non-citizen travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but the Taiwanese vaccine is not on the list The US government next month is to require all non-US nationals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the nation, but the Taiwanese vaccine manufactured by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) is not on Washington’s list of acceptable vaccines. The new international air travel policy, which is to take effect on Nov. 8, requires all non-citizen, non-immigrant air travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before flying to the US. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive their second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, the White House said. Vaccines
DOWN, NOT OUT: The election was not a total defeat, as Chen still received 73,433 votes against the recall, and his party has ‘grown up’ through the process, he said Voters in Taichung yesterday recalled Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟), making him the first legislator in the nation’s history to lose a recall election. A total of 77,899 votes were cast to recall Chen, while 73,433 voted against, the Taichung City Election Commission said, adding that 51.72 percent of the city’s second electoral district turned out. The Central Election Commission is to confirm the final figures within the next seven days, it said. Commission data showed that there are 294,976 eligible voters in the second district, comprised of Dadu (大肚), Shalu (沙鹿), Longjing (龍井), Wufong (霧峰) and Wurih (烏日) districts. Chen won
MILITARY RESOLVE: Washington does not want a cold war with Beijing, it just wants ‘China to understand that we’re not going to step back,’ Biden told a CNN town hall The US would come to Taiwan’s defense and has a commitment to defend the nation China claims as its own, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday, although the White House later said there was no change in policy toward Taiwan. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting when asked if the US would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has been facing mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty. While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long
AFTERSHOCKS LIKELY: A hiker was hurt by falling rocks at the Taroko National Park, while a tower crane was damaged at a construction site in New Taipei City A series of earthquakes yesterday injured several people, damaged buildings and disrupted transportation. A magnitude 4.5 earthquake struck 8km northeast of Hualien County Hall at 12:38pm at a depth of 23.8km, the Central Weather Bureau’s Web site showed. It was followed at 1:11pm by a magnitude 6.5 quake centered near Yilan County’s Nanao Township (南澳) at a depth of 66.8km. A magnitude 5.4 earthquake followed less than a minute later, with its epicenter near the county’s Datong Township (大同), at a depth of 67.3km. A magnitude 4.2 quake again struck Nanao at 2:05pm at a depth of 63km. The magnitude 6.5 earthquake was the strongest