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.
VOTERS’ CHOICE: The DPP’s Chen and independent candidate Huang conceded defeat before 7:20pm, with Chiang pledging to remain humble and do his best Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) yesterday won the Taipei mayoral election, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate defeating the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) pick, former minister of health and welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), and former Taipei deputy mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), an independent. After polling stations closed at 4pm, the Taipei Election Commission issued a preliminary estimate that voter turnout in the city was about 64 percent, slightly lower than in 2018. Chiang, 43, is to be the youngest Taipei mayor ever, with the KMT regaining the capital after eight years. Chen had an exceptionally high national approval rating when he was head
A naval landing craft on Thursday sank near Kinmen County after wet weather and rough seas flooded its cabin, the Naval Fleet Command said. The vessel, called Landing Craft Mechanized 1326, had completed transport and replenishment missions in the county and was returning to Taiwan proper when surging waves flooded the cabin, the navy said in a statement. The craft’s five crew members tried to bail out the water to no avail, the Navy said. The landing craft eventually sank off Kinmen’s Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣) at 5:18pm, although all crew members rescued, it said, adding that the precise cause of the sinking
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Chiang was effective in running a cautious campaign to avoid making mistakes, waiting for other candidates to slip up, an analyst said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei Mayor-elect Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) stood out among his rivals due to his energy, his die-hard supporters and his relative openness to discuss issues such as same-sex marriage, a political analyst said yesterday. Chiang’s campaign was also aided by his family’s background in politics, which helped him garner greater support in Taipei where there is a large KMT base, said the analyst, who chose to remain anonymous. “Chiang is also not a typical KMT member when it comes to certain issues, such as gay marriage, and his more open stance widened his support base — particularly among young
TOURIST HOTSPOT: The air charter services would drastically cut travel time to the world-renowned beach with its service to Caticlan, instead of Kalibo Royal Air Philippines is to launch next month direct flights between Taiwan and the Philippine city of Caticlan, a closer entry point to tourist hotspot Boracay. The airline will initially offer six charter flights between Dec. 26 and Jan. 15, with the flight frequency increasing to one per day during the Lunar New Year and winter holidays from Jan. 19 to Feb. 8, it announced at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. The charter flight services will drastically cut travel time to Boracay to about two hours and 45 minutes. Before the new route is launched, travelers from Taiwan who