National Security Bureau (NSB) Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) confirmed that China had deployed a “new” missile unit near Taiwan, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker said yesterday.
Tsai described the new unit, located in Guangdong Province, while replying to queries last week by KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方).
“The unit, carrying the code number 96166 ... is indeed a new unit, probably a new ballistic missile brigade,” a statement by Lin quoted Tsai as saying, without providing further details.
Chinese media and US defense analysts have been reporting on the unit for several months, from which more information can be gleaned.
Xinhua news agency on July 28 last year reported the construction of facilities for a new Second Artillery missile brigade, known as the 96166 Unit, in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province, which was already home to the 96169 short-range ballistic missile unit in Meizhou.
Referring to reports, the Project 2049 Institute said in August last year that the new unit could have “unique capabilities that could complicate the strategic calculus in Asia and the South China Sea in particular.”
The new unit, which was initially collocated with an existing DF-21 brigade in Chizhou, Anhui Province, appears to have extensive experience with the 600km-range DF-11A short-range ballistic missile. The brigade could be a candidate for a new medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) such as the DF-16 or the DF-21C surface-to-surface MRBM, the institute said.
The NSB chief caused tremors in defense circles in March when he told the legislature that the DF-16, about which little was known at that time, had completed testing and was beginning deployment. Tsai also claimed that a growing number of missiles in the Chinese arsenal now came with multiple submunitions.
Reports also say that the new unit could be a candidate for the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), also known as the “aircraft carrier killer.”
“If an ASBM is successful in passing the necessary design reviews and a sufficient sensor network is in place, the Shaoguan brigade could become the first in the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] to field a lethal capability against moving targets at sea out to a range of 1,500km to 2,000km or more from launch sites,” the institute said.
In recent years, the PLA has continued to increase its deployment of ballistic missile units opposite Taiwan, while improving their accuracy. Experts estimate that China currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at Taiwan, mostly deployed in Fujian and -Jiangxi provinces in the southeast.
Lin said China’s continued expansion of its railway network has also helped boost the flexibility of its missile arm.
The extensive rail network enables the weapons to be transported swiftly to coastal areas when needed and even to be launched from railway cars.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP
‘HIDDEN GEM’: The city earned plaudits for its low crime rate, world-class healthcare system, cheap cost of living and easy public transportation Taipei has been named the 10th best city in the world for quality of living in an annual survey by the editors of Monocle, a UK-based global affairs and lifestyle magazine. The survey, which is to be published in the magazine’s July/August issue, selected the world’s top 25 cities based on factors including cost of living, retail, hospitality, culture and access to green spaces, as well as feedback from Monocle correspondents. Taipei’s 10th place finish was one place down from a year earlier. The survey ranked Copenhagen as the world’s best city, with Zurich, Lisbon, Helsinki and Stockholm rounding out the top five.
GLOBAL STRATEGY: Indo-Pacific alliances need reinforcement to prevent Chinese occupation of Taiwan, which would threaten Japan, Hawaii and Australia, Pompeo said The US should officially recognize Taiwan as a free, independent nation and establish official diplomatic ties, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told an event at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Friday. Every US president since Harry Truman has considered Taiwan’s existence to be of utmost importance to US national security, Pompeo said. Taiwan is a principal US partner in technology and economic matters, and if China were to capture Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chain, it would severely hamper the US economy, Pompeo said. Should China occupy Taiwan, it would severely weaken US influence in the Indo-Pacific region and its surrounding areas,
NO COMORBIDITIES: The girl died of encephalitis, the sixth COVID-19-related death of the disease this year and 19th death of a child from the virus, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 52,213 new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases and 171 deaths from the virus, including a four-year-old girl, who had been diagnosed with encephalitis, and a 19-year-old man, who had underlying health conditions. “The caseloads are usually higher on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but they [yesterday] fell 7.3 percent from the day before,” Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. Chuang, who is the CECC’s spokesman, said that most cities and counties reported a drop in new cases, and the CECC expects fewer than 50,000 new cases today. The center said that 150 of
LIMIT: The CECC has capped the number of weekly arrivals to 25,000, which critics said has limited the number of available flights and caused ticket prices to soar The government is not likely to raise the cap on the number of inbound travelers before the end of this month, despite the apparent effect on the number of inbound flights, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday last week eased quarantine rules for inbound travelers, who must undergo three days of home quarantine upon arrival and spend another four days in self-initiated disease prevention. It also capped the number of inbound travelers to 25,000 per week. The weekly limit has drawn criticism that it has limited the number of flights