China has been steadily stepping up fighter plane patrols in the Taiwan Strait, according to the Ministry of National Defense?? (MND) annual national defense report released yesterday.
The report said that while Chinese fighters patrolling the Strait made about 400 sorties per year before 1998, there were 1,500 sorties in 2001 and 1,700 in 2005.
The figures have averaged between 1,300 and 1,700 since 2005, indicating a more aggressive posture, the report said.
In addition, Chinese research vessels have intruded into Taiwan?? waters more than 20 times in the past three years, it said.
The research vessels are believed to be mapping the undersea geography of Taiwan?? and Japan?? territorial waters for use by China?? submarine force, the report said.
The latest figures show that China has around 1,300 ballistic and cruise missiles targeted at Taiwan, and is adding 75 to 100 missiles per year.
The report said China?? ballistic missiles posed the biggest threat to national security.
China has about 700 fighter jets of various types, with its most advanced Su-series fighter jets deployed in bases in southeast China, the report said.
It added that these jets would form the main force should there be a conflict between China and Taiwan.
The report said China procured S-300 series air defense missiles from Russia, and had proposed procuring more advanced air-defense missile systems from Russia.
The deployments of Russian Kilo-class submarines and Sovremenny-class destroyers pose a serious threat to stability in the strait, the report said.
The report added that China?? military strategy toward Taiwan was ??o use force to deter Taiwanese independence.??
This would be done by launching blockades of Taiwan?? outlying islands and sea lanes or launching a full-scale missile attack against Taiwan.
Beijing is focusing on developing long-range missiles ??o strike at US bases and battle carrier groups stationed in the Asia-Pacific ... so as to block the US from coming to the rescue of Taiwan should war break out in the Taiwan Strait,??the report said.
??lthough the Chinese communists have claimed they would like to solve the Taiwan issue in a peaceful manner, they have asked their forces to step up preparation for military struggle against Taiwan,??it said.
China believes that ??f it employs military actions against Taiwan, foreign intervention would be its greatest concern, with the United States being the most significant foreign power,??the report said.