China aiming 200 more missiles at Taiwan: MND

EXPLOSIVE ISSUE::A military report indicates that China has boosted its arsenal to 1,600 missiles, with its new advanced, medium-range DF-16 missiles among them

By Rich Chang and J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporters

Tue, Sep 04, 2012 - Page 1

The number of ballistic and cruise missiles aimed by China’s Second Artillery Corps at Taiwan has grown from 1,400 last year to more than 1,600 this year, which poses a serious threat to the nation, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in its China Military Power Report 2012.

This year’s annual report, which has been delivered to the legislature, emphasizes China’s growing missile threat.

It said the People’s Liberation Army had deployed a small number of advanced Dong Feng-16 (DF-16) missiles to complement the arsenal of DF-11 and DF-15 short-range missiles that has threatened Taiwan over the years. National Security Bureau Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) told the legislature in March last year that the Chinese military had completed developing the new DF-16. Photographs in April suggested the deployment of the medium-range missile had begun. Military analysts also believe that the DF-16 may be mobile, which would make interception more difficult.

To increase area-denial, the Second Artillery has deployed DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles, the report said, adding that DF-31A ICBMs armed with nuclear warheads and capable of reaching the US and most European countries were deployed to deter other countries from interfering in any conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

The number of ballistic and cruise missiles aimed at Taiwan has increased by about 200 from last year and is now estimated at 1,600, it said, adding that an increasing number were equipped with advanced GPS systems allowing for precision attacks against Taiwan.

Facing an increased threat from Chinese missiles, plans are being made to modernize Taiwan’s air defense systems, the report said.

According to the military budget proposal for next year, the ministry has earmarked funds to modernize and expand its surface-to-air missiles (SAM), with the ministry planning to procure rocket boosters from the US to place on the AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile. It also has plans to acquire AGM-65G Maverick missiles, AGM-84L Harpoon missiles and Magic II missiles, as well as the domestically produced Tien Chien II missiles.

The Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology is also to be called upon to modernize parts of the indigenous Tien Kung “Sky Bow” I and II air-defense systems.

The military also plans to send aging MIM23 Hawk medium-range SAMs to the US for efficiency tests, the budget proposal shows.

In addition, the military plans to procure rocket motors from the US to equip its Standard Missile 1, it says.

Although relations across the Taiwan Strait have improved, China has not slowed its military buildup, which is mainly intended to deter the Taiwanese independence movement, the report says.