China’s armed forces are capable of blockading Taiwan’s key harbors and airports, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday, offering its latest assessment of what it described as a “grave” military threat posed by its giant neighbor.
China has been ramping up military activity around Taiwan, including by repeatedly flying warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
In a report it issues every two years, the ministry said China had launched what it called “gray zone” warfare, citing 554 “intrusions” by Chinese warplanes into its southwest ADIZ between September last year and the end of August.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) also aims to complete the modernization of its forces by 2035 to “obtain superiority in possible operations against Taiwan and viable capabilities to deny foreign forces, posing a grave challenge to our national security,” the ministry said.
“At present, the PLA is capable of performing [a] local joint blockade against our critical harbors, airports, and outbound flight routes, to cut off our air and sea lines of communication and impact the flow of our military supplies and logistic resources,” the ministry said.
The Chinese Ministry of National Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has vowed to defend Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.
She has made bolstering Taiwan’s defenses a priority, pledging to produce more domestically developed weapons, including submarines, and buying more equipment from the US, the nation’s most important arms supplier and international backer.
Last month, Taiwan reported 148 Chinese air force planes in its south and southwest ADIZ over a four-day period, marking a dramatic escalation in tensions between Taipei and Beijing.
“Its intimidating behavior does not only consume our combat power and shake our faith and morale, but also attempts to alter or challenge the status quo in the Taiwan Strait to ultimately achieve its goal of ‘seizing Taiwan without a fight,’” the ministry said.
To counter China’s attempt to “seize Taiwan swiftly whilst denying foreign interventions,” the ministry vowed to improve its “asymmetric warfare” capabilities to make any attack as painful and as difficult for China as possible.
That includes precision strikes by long-range missiles on targets in China, deployment of coastal minefields as well as boosting reserve training.
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