National Security Bureau (NSB) Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) confirmed that China had deployed a “new” missile unit near Taiwan, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker said yesterday.
Tsai described the new unit, located in Guangdong Province, while replying to queries last week by KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方).
“The unit, carrying the code number 96166 ... is indeed a new unit, probably a new ballistic missile brigade,” a statement by Lin quoted Tsai as saying, without providing further details.
Chinese media and US defense analysts have been reporting on the unit for several months, from which more information can be gleaned.
Xinhua news agency on July 28 last year reported the construction of facilities for a new Second Artillery missile brigade, known as the 96166 Unit, in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province, which was already home to the 96169 short-range ballistic missile unit in Meizhou.
Referring to reports, the Project 2049 Institute said in August last year that the new unit could have “unique capabilities that could complicate the strategic calculus in Asia and the South China Sea in particular.”
The new unit, which was initially collocated with an existing DF-21 brigade in Chizhou, Anhui Province, appears to have extensive experience with the 600km-range DF-11A short-range ballistic missile. The brigade could be a candidate for a new medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) such as the DF-16 or the DF-21C surface-to-surface MRBM, the institute said.
The NSB chief caused tremors in defense circles in March when he told the legislature that the DF-16, about which little was known at that time, had completed testing and was beginning deployment. Tsai also claimed that a growing number of missiles in the Chinese arsenal now came with multiple submunitions.
Reports also say that the new unit could be a candidate for the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), also known as the “aircraft carrier killer.”
“If an ASBM is successful in passing the necessary design reviews and a sufficient sensor network is in place, the Shaoguan brigade could become the first in the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] to field a lethal capability against moving targets at sea out to a range of 1,500km to 2,000km or more from launch sites,” the institute said.
In recent years, the PLA has continued to increase its deployment of ballistic missile units opposite Taiwan, while improving their accuracy. Experts estimate that China currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at Taiwan, mostly deployed in Fujian and -Jiangxi provinces in the southeast.
Lin said China’s continued expansion of its railway network has also helped boost the flexibility of its missile arm.
The extensive rail network enables the weapons to be transported swiftly to coastal areas when needed and even to be launched from railway cars.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn