The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is capable of seizing Taiwanese islands, paralyzing the country’s defensive capabilities with cruise and short-range ballistic missiles, as well as by launching amphibious and airborne raids, to take Taiwan proper before forces from other nations could respond, the Ministry of National Defense said.
In the latest annual report on China’s military forces presented to the legislature, as stipulated in the National Defense Act (國防法), the ministry said that Beijing’s purpose in holding combined air-naval-ground exercises involving the PLA’s Second Artillery Force in recent years was to ensure that it would be able to launch a large-scale attack on Taiwan by next year.
According to the National Bureau of Asian Research, a Washington-based think tank, the Second Artillery Force is a strategic missile force of the PLA tasked with achieving strategic effects through direct engagement of key enemy targets.
China’s military modernization has improved the PLA’s capability to conduct “counterintervention operations” for “regional deterrence” missions to prevent foreign forces, like the US, from intervention in cross-strait conflicts, the report said.
The ministry said that the Second Artillery Force has continued to mass produce and install missiles despite the force already fielding an array of tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles that can reach Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the ministry said that the Dong-Feng 21D, medium-range anti-ship ballistic missile has the capability to deny an aircraft carrier from a third country from intervening in a conflict between Taiwan and China.
If a conflict broke out, China would expect to take Taiwan in the shortest time by conducting intensive air, missile and naval strikes, as well as a blockade of the nation with the objective being to cause panic in the country, and conducting an amphibious and airborne operation to land here, the ministry said.
China has previously characterized its military policy as purely “defensive” in nature, but it has shifted the policy to “diversification of armed forces use,” as stated in a Chinese defense white paper this year, the ministry added.
In reaction to the US-Japan island defense exercise in January last year, China held a spate of drills across the East and South China seas to highlight its claims to sovereignty over the region and to declare that the PLA’s primary missions go beyond Taiwan to include the seas, which are both among China’s “core national interests,” the ministry said.
The ministry said that China’s military presence in the South and East China seas — including its declaration of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea last year — showed that Beijing’s desire to become a dominant power in Asia has endangered regional stability, with sporadic tensions with the US, Japan, South Korea and some Southeast Asian countries.
China’s defense spending has seen double-digit growth each year since 1989, and with a defense budget of US$132 billion this year, China is the biggest military spender in Asia and second only to the US in the world, the defense ministry said.
The ministry added that China views the years up until 2020 as a “strategic opportunity” to enhance its combat capabilities, while the military modernization it has undertaken over the years has turned its military into a force far beyond its need for self-defense.
Despite rapprochement in cross-strait relations, as the military imbalance between Taiwan and China grows and Taiwan remains the PLA’s primary mission, the military threats to the nation from China have not abated, the ministry said.
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo