As the invasion of Ukraine continues, China — with the world’s third-most powerful military — is flexing its muscles on this side of the globe.
The Chinese state-run Global Times on Saturday released a video to promote China’s aircraft carrier program, which conspicuously hinted at the launch of a third Chinese naval carrier. The South China Morning Post reported that the People’s Liberation Army Navy planned to launch the new carrier on Saturday, but it was postponed as the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai delayed the shipping of essential components.
Utilizing shipbuilding expertise gained from constructing the aircraft carriers Liaoning and Shandong, China’s new carrier is to be equipped with an innovative device called an electromagnetic catapult, which allows aircraft to accelerate and take off from the vessel, Chinese military expert Song Zhongping (宋忠平) said.
The Chinese navy has never been shy of aspiring to be as powerful as its US counterpart. The upcoming launch should not only demonstrate its growing naval capabilities, but that it is on track to accomplish the ambitions and goals established by the Chinese Communist Party.
While this development could increase the threat to Taiwan, Taipei should not be too quick to lose heart with its national defense strategy.
The recent sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, could perhaps give Taiwan’s national defense a shot in the arm. The ease with which the pride of the Russian fleet was sunk with two locally made Neptune missiles shocked military experts. They now wonder whether Chinese aircraft carriers such as the Liaoning could be taken out as easily as the Moskva, as China purchased many of its submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers from the Soviet Union, or had them refitted there.
Experts have suggested that the quality of armor used in Russian Cold War vessels might not fare any better than the Moskva against anti-ship missiles. Additionally, its sinking has proven that missiles could become the Achilles’ heel of large-scale flagships and aircraft carriers, as their grand size makes them easy targets. Regarded this way, Taiwan has made the right investment with its 2017 national strategy.
Taiwan’s Overall Defense Concept is based on a strategy of asymmetric warfare. Instead of acquiring expensive jets and submarines, the strategy focuses on deployments of mobile and concealable defensive weapons across Taiwan, especially missiles for use against ships and planes. This is the “porcupine strategy” — the pain of stepping on the animal’s quills becomes the main deterrent to crushing it.
Taiwan’s air-defense missile density now ranks second only to Israel’s, with the intention of eventually surpassing that country. Its locally developed Hsiung Feng III and Hsiung Feng II missiles can now hit targets anywhere in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is also protected by the sea and natural fortifications such as mountain ranges, making the nation more difficult to penetrate than Ukraine.
As Russia’s invasion turns into a quagmire, there have been suggestions that Russia’s military strength was overestimated. Similarly, Taiwan should not jump at the mere shadow of China’s third aircraft carrier, but focus on boosting its own military strength to become the world’s most impregnable “porcupine” island fortress.
Over the past few decades, only judges have been the triers of fact and law in Taiwan’s judiciary. Nevertheless, ordinary people are from next year to have the opportunity to be take on that role in criminal cases, a milestone in Taiwan’s history. The Citizen Judges Act (國民法官法) was passed by the Legislative Yuan on July 22, promulgated by the president on Aug. 12 and is to be implemented on Jan. 1 next year. Under the act, lay people are to be randomly selected as citizen judges who would participate in trial proceedings and adjudicate cases alongside professional judges in
Reports that Taiwan’s semiconductor industry could be considering leaving the country amid rising geopolitical tensions, and in light of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC) plans to build factories in the US and Japan, were dismissed last week by Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花). Wang said that Taiwan has an important chip manufacturing cluster, its capabilities are second to none and no other country could displace Taiwan’s dominance in semiconductors. Wang also downplayed concerns that a number of TSMC engineers relocating to the US for the company’s new plant in Phoenix, Arizona, would lead to talent shortages or a loss
As all are aware by now, United States policy toward Taiwan is guided by three canonical texts: the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. But the State Department now seems to be working with a fourth document which goes by the bland name of “state telegram number 87604” of June 26, 2007, regarding “UN references to Taiwan.” Long dormant, “07 State 87604” seems to have been rediscovered at State Department headquarters in Foggy Bottom. I doubt it will ever be enshrined with the three holy texts, but it now seems to influence American diplomacy toward
The strategically vital city of Kherson is back in the hands of Ukrainians, albeit under threat of Russian shelling and attacks on its electricity supply. However, as combatants on both sides of an increasingly static firing line prepare for a winter war, there are effectively two separate conflicts emerging — one on the land, the other in the air. What can the West do to help Ukraine meet the immediate tactical challenges, and ultimately seize the longer-term advantage? On land, the arrival of a wet, rainy fall and a harsh winter should lead to a decrease in operations. Both Russia and