After China’s sole aircraft carrier yesterday morning sailed out of the Taiwan Strait and continued north on the Chinese side of the Strait’s median line, military analysts said plans are under way to upgrade Taiwan’s missile capabilities to counter military threats.
“Our armed forces were activated and continue to closely monitor the situation. There were no discernible hostile actions and the public can rest assured that national security is being maintained,” the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.
The Liaoning aircraft carrier and its escorts entered the southern end of the Taiwan Strait at 7am on Wednesday, sailed north on the Chinese side of the median line and exited the Strait at 6:30am yesterday, military officials said.
The Soviet-built Liaoning, returning from exercises in the disputed South China Sea, had “operated meticulously” during the navigation of the Taiwan Strait, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy spokesman Liang Yang (梁陽) said.
The Liaoning carrier group, “visiting the South China Sea to conduct cross-maritime region drills and tests, has passed through the Taiwan Strait and continues with its further duties,” Liang said in a short statement on the Chinese Ministry of National Defense’s Web site.
The ships traveled at less than 12 knots per hour (22.2kph), resulting in their passage through the Taiwan Strait taking longer than estimated, naval experts said, adding that warships commonly sail at about 20 to 30 knots per hour.
Some experts said the Liaoning might have deliberately slowed down, while others said the Chinese navy was still conducting trials of the aircraft carrier.
Taiwanese warships, led by a Cheng Kung-class frigate and a Lafayette-class frigate, and military aircraft — including one E-2T airborne early warning aircraft, F-16s and Indigenous Defense Fighters — shadowed the Liaoning during its passage through the Strait, military officials said.
China is reportedly preparing to commission a second aircraft carrier by 2020, while ministry and Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology programs are reportedly under way to upgrade the nation’s missile capabilities to counter the growing Chinese threat.
Local media quoted a senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the ministry has readjusted its missile strategy into a “multilayer deterrent” framework composed of the Hsiung Feng, Tien Kung and Tien Chien missile systems.
Defense scientists at the institute are working to improve the range, guidance systems and anti-tracking mechanisms of all three missiles systems, the official said.
The institute reportedly earlier this month successfully tested a new variant of the Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missile with an extended range of 400km off the nation’s southeast cost.
Dubbed a “carrier killer,” the Hsiung Feng III is reportedly capable of reaching speeds up to three times the speed of sound, skim the surface of the sea to avoid detection and penetrate the thick metal hulls of most warships.
The institute has also reportedly boosted the range of the Hsiung Feng II subsonic anti-ship missile from 120km to 250km.
The military is focused on testing the combined deployment of the Hsiung Feng II and III missiles in response to hostile maneuvers by enemy warships, the official said.
Development is also reportedly under way to increase the range of the Tien Chien missile to 90km and allow Indigenous Defense Fighters to carry four, instead of the current two.
Taiwanese missile systems are one way to counter China’s naval and aerial threats, analysts said, adding that the ministry should accelerate the implementation of an indigenous submarine program and develop stealth technologies for warships.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to