Domestic arms key to deterrence plan

NATIONAL DEFENSE REPORT::The theme is the military as a ‘defender of peace,’ as it joins with the US, Australia, Japan and others in safeguarding the Indo-Pacific region

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Sep 12, 2019 - Page 1

The Ministry of National Defense’s annual National Defense Report, released yesterday, outlines the capability of domestic weapons, Taiwan’s increasing role in regional security and strategies for countering the continual threat of China’s military.

The main theme of the report is the military as a “defender of peace,” as it joins with Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in promoting the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy.

The nation’s indigenous defense industry has greatly evolved since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office, ministry spokesman Shih Shun-wen (史順文) told a news conference in Taipei.

The industry’s advancement has sustained existing projects and initiated new programs, including the manufacture of precision-fire missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), armored personnel carriers, Tuo Jiang-class guided-missile corvettes and submarines, the report said.

“The main military threat still comes from China, as its top leaders have not renounced the use of force to invade Taiwan, have spent a substantial portion of the national budget on increasing its military strength and moved to quickly modernize its armed forces. By trying to unilaterally alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, China poses the most serious challenge for Taiwan’s national security,” the report quoted Defense Policy Division Director Teng Keh-syong (鄧克雄) as saying.

Included in the report is a map showing the expanded range of China’s Dongfeng ballistic missiles. The earlier version could already reach Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia with its range of 1,000km.

The upgraded Dongfeng 10 and 21 has a range of 1,600km and can reach all of Japan, much of India and the Asia-Pacific region’s “second island chain.”

The ministry has a new telecommunications unit to combat fake news and misinformation regarding the military, Teng said, adding that through QR codes and the ministry’s Web sites, the unit can engage with the public and the media to rapidly correct false information.

The report was released with a summarized, comic book version that targets the younger generation so that the public can understand the nation’s defense programs and military strategies.

For the first time, the report presents new coastal defense plans to repel a force invading across the Taiwan Strait.

Previously, the military saw beaches as the focal point for repelling a potential invasion, but in 2017 that strategy was revised to include a broader perimeter, the report says.

Taiwan has been forced to shift its strategy as China has been developing expeditionary warfare and over-the-horizon amphibious assault capabilities that pose a threat all along Taiwan’s coastline, Teng said.

The report contains an illustration of how the military would repel an invasion of naval and aerial units, targeting a landing site along Taiwan’s coast.

It shows the nation’s larger warships and naval vessels being deployed along a perimeter in coastal areas as a first line of defense against possible invaders.

Behind those vessels, naval mines are used as a second line of defense, followed by Tuo Jiang-class corvettes and smaller naval vessels, while armored vehicles, tanks, multiple rocket launchers and other weapons systems are deployed on beaches.

It shows precision-fire missiles and military aircraft being used as further deterrence — all as part of the military’s “multiple deterrence” strategy adopted in 2017.

Additional reporting by CNA