Mon, May 06, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Military told to boost asymmetric might

BE PREPARED:While China is not likely to achieve victory using missiles alone, the improved range of its new weapons poses a huge threat, an analyst said

By Huang Hsin-po and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Analysts and legislators urged the government to step up the nation’s asymmetric warfare capabilities, after the US Department of Defense issued a report on China’s military capabilities.

The report, released on Thursday, said that the west and northwest of Taiwan are in range of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) air defense missiles, Institute of National Defense and Security Research analyst Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said.

The Ministry of National Defense’s decision to replace Northrop F-5Es at Chihhang Air Base in Taitung with F-16Vs is vindicated by the report’s findings, he said.

Basing Taiwan’s most advanced tactical aircraft at Chihhang would put them beyond the reach of Chinese surface-to-air missile fire during takeoff, Su said.

The military should also enhance its arsenal of surface-to-air and shore-based anti-ship missiles that, in conjunction with Japan’s anti-ship missile batteries at Miyakojima in Okinawa Prefecture, could block the PLA’s access to the Pacific from the first island chain, he said.

The report identified three possible forms of Chinese aggression toward Taiwan: large-scale missile attacks, limited attacks by precision-guided munitions or an amphibious assault, Chinese-language Military Link Magazine editor-in-chief Chen Wei-hao (陳維浩) said.

No nation has ever surrendered to missile attacks alone, so Beijing could well find that it has no alternative but to stage an amphibious assault if it wishes to bend Taiwan to its will, Chen said.

Mounting an amphibious invasion of Taiwan could be a daunting prospect for China, as such military action risks domestic stability and could lead to armed intervention by other states, he said.

While China is unlikely to achieve victory with missile fire alone, the improved range of its modern missiles poses a “huge threat,” as the military’s plans to escape missile fire by moving units east could be rendered obsolete, Chen said.

“The urgent task is conceiving a response that would actually implement the principles of asymmetric warfare, especially with regard to disrupting the communist forces’ ability to push supplies and reinforcements to the front,” he said.

Regarding the report’s conclusion that the PLA could commit its sole aircraft carrier to battle, Chen said the Liaoning has more propaganda than combat value.

Accounting for maintenance cycles, a minimum of three carriers is needed to make a strategic impact, Chen said.

Chinese naval aviation would not pose a serious threat for the next 10 to 15 years, he said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said the report suggests that the US’ armed forces are actively preparing to defend the region.

Taiwan’s military defenses are acceptable, but the military should keep improving the mobility of its units and therefore their survivability, he added.

Ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said that the nation’s armed forces continue to observe trends and exercise control over the airspace and maritime zones around the nation.

“The military will, as the president has said, yield not an inch of the nation’s sovereign territory or an iota of our freedoms and democracy,” he said.

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