Lieutenant General Michael Maples, the US Defense Intelligence Agency director, on Wednesday confirmed that China has deployed more than 1,000 ballistic missiles against Taiwan and developed more powerful missiles, with the range to reach all the facilities of the US and its allies in the region. He also said that Beijing may be seeking to operate an aircraft carrier.
In his report, entitled Current and Projected National Threats to the United States, to the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Maples said that China had bought four Russian-built S-300 PMU-2 air defense battalions and intended to buy four more. "This increases its engagement range out to 200km," he said.
"China is developing a layered maritime capacity with medium-range anti-ship ballistic missiles, submarines, maritime strike aircraft and surface combatants armed with increasingly sophisticated anti-ship cruise missiles," he said.
He added that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has already achieved "moderate success," and additional integration may accelerate as the PLA explores the full potential of such weapons.
"China is looking beyond a potential Taiwan contingency and is pursuing capabilities needed to become a major regional power. The navy already operates a large surface and an increasingly modern submarine fleet and may be seeking to operate an aircraft carrier," he said.
"Although China may not achieve a true regional power-projection capability in the next decade, it most likely will increase maritime patrols of disputed oil fields and its Exclusive Economic Zone," he said.
According to Maples, China's space and counterspace capabilities have "significant implications" for US space-based communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in a Taiwan Strait contingency and beyond.
"Citing its manned and lunar space programs, China is improving its ability to track and identify satellites -- a prerequisite for anti-satellite attacks," he said.
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for
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