Taiwan’s military could deploy surface-to-surface missiles on the Penghu Islands as part of efforts to mount a more credible deterrent capability against China, budgetary documents submitted earlier this month say.
According to the documents, the Ministry of National Defense’s Missile Command would deploy three missile squadrons at a fixed base on Penghu as part of a NT$2.5 billion (US$84.8 million) “Ji Zhun” (戟隼) plan for the acquisition of Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E) land attack cruise missiles. Part of the budget would reportedly be set aside for the construction of bunkers with dehumidifying systems to store the missiles.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2008 gave the go-ahead for the production of 300 HF-2Es. The missile, developed by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was approved for full production earlier this year.
Photo: Military News Agency via CNA
The HF-2E can be fired from land-based emplacements as well as surface vessels. With an estimated range of 600km, the HF-2E brings some ports in southern China within range, which would now be extended by being deployed on Penghu, located in the middle of the Taiwan Strait.
HF-2Es have been spotted on naval vessels anchored at Penghu’s Makung (馬公) and Tien Kung II surface-to-air missiles are deployed there.
Stating standard procedure on military deployments, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman yesterday would not comment on the report, which first appeared in the Chinese-language United Daily News on Wednesday last week.
The amount of money to be spent on indigenous defense programs next year is the highest since 2000, reflecting growing fears within the military of a possible scaling back of arms sales to Taiwan by the US.
According to a Defense News article on Monday, new development programs could include an anti-radiation unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a graphite bomb, an electromagnetic pulse weapon, a hypersonic vehicle testing capability, a long-range UAV, ship stealth technology and a catamaran-hulled ship.
A US-based defense analyst told the Taipei Times that insecurity stemming from perceived diminishing US support could spark Taiwan to adopt “more radical solutions,” such as the deployment of offensive missiles like the HF-2E.
“Given China’s increasingly formidable air defenses, using fixed wing air assets, such as F-5s or F-16s, to strike mainland targets has become increasingly costly. Therefore, investments in systems, such as the HF-2E, could be viewed as necessary to maintain a limited retaliation capability,” the analyst said.
US policy has long denied Taiwan efforts to acquire air-launched weapons considered offensive, such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions and AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles. The US Department of State has also repeatedly blocked, under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), attempts by Taiwan to acquire components that would help it extend the range and yield of its missiles.
“The State Department is the keeper of the MTCR and ‘defensive weapons’ flame of the Taiwan Relations Act,” Rick Fisher, a senior fellow on Asian military affairs at the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, told the Taipei Times last week. “Absent a White House level of policy change, the US is not going to offer any leadership in this direction.”
The first analyst said there seemed to be some inconsistencies in Washington’s strict adherence to the MTCR when it comes to Taiwan.
“I don’t see much complaining about China developing and fielding missile systems able to strike targets on Taiwan and throughout the region,” he said.
Phase 2 clinical trial results of the Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday were published on the Web site of The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine, in an early preview before publication. The study paves the way for other nations to issue emergency use authorizations or produce the Medigen vaccine, given The Lancet’s credibility as a highly respected medical journal with a rigorous peer-review process, Medigen’s international affairs director Lien Chia-en (連加恩) said. Lien said that the study is important as it proposes methods for converting international units for efficacy comparisons. The methods have been used for correlating the efficacy of hepatitis B
Ambassador Theaters on Tuesday announced that its Breeze Center cinemas in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山) would close late this month after screening thousands of major Hollywood movies and local favorites over two decades. Ambassador Theaters, one of the largest cinema chain operators in Taiwan, said that Oct. 25 would be the last day the Breeze Center cinemas screen movies, adding that its lease expires on that day. “We sincerely appreciate the support and recognition from audiences in Taipei over the past 20 years,” the company said. “We look forward to seeing you again in the future.” The cinemas started operating in 2001, upon
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
THREATS: Dismissing Beijing’s assertion that its military exercises only target Taiwanese separatists, Chiu Kuo-cheng said war has no regard for political affiliation In case Taiwan is attacked, the military will defend the nation and not stand by like “plastic toys,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee. Chiu was responding to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) asking him to clarify his remark last week that “the military holds to the principle that we will not fire the first shot.” Wang asked Chiu whether he meant what he said literally or that Taiwan would not start a war. “The Republic of China will not start a war,” Chiu