Taiwan’s military could deploy surface-to-surface missiles on the Penghu Islands as part of efforts to mount a more credible deterrent capability against China, budgetary documents submitted earlier this month say.
According to the documents, the Ministry of National Defense’s Missile Command would deploy three missile squadrons at a fixed base on Penghu as part of a NT$2.5 billion (US$84.8 million) “Ji Zhun” (戟隼) plan for the acquisition of Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E) land attack cruise missiles. Part of the budget would reportedly be set aside for the construction of bunkers with dehumidifying systems to store the missiles.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2008 gave the go-ahead for the production of 300 HF-2Es. The missile, developed by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was approved for full production earlier this year.
Photo: Military News Agency via CNA
The HF-2E can be fired from land-based emplacements as well as surface vessels. With an estimated range of 600km, the HF-2E brings some ports in southern China within range, which would now be extended by being deployed on Penghu, located in the middle of the Taiwan Strait.
HF-2Es have been spotted on naval vessels anchored at Penghu’s Makung (馬公) and Tien Kung II surface-to-air missiles are deployed there.
Stating standard procedure on military deployments, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman yesterday would not comment on the report, which first appeared in the Chinese-language United Daily News on Wednesday last week.
The amount of money to be spent on indigenous defense programs next year is the highest since 2000, reflecting growing fears within the military of a possible scaling back of arms sales to Taiwan by the US.
According to a Defense News article on Monday, new development programs could include an anti-radiation unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a graphite bomb, an electromagnetic pulse weapon, a hypersonic vehicle testing capability, a long-range UAV, ship stealth technology and a catamaran-hulled ship.
A US-based defense analyst told the Taipei Times that insecurity stemming from perceived diminishing US support could spark Taiwan to adopt “more radical solutions,” such as the deployment of offensive missiles like the HF-2E.
“Given China’s increasingly formidable air defenses, using fixed wing air assets, such as F-5s or F-16s, to strike mainland targets has become increasingly costly. Therefore, investments in systems, such as the HF-2E, could be viewed as necessary to maintain a limited retaliation capability,” the analyst said.
US policy has long denied Taiwan efforts to acquire air-launched weapons considered offensive, such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions and AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles. The US Department of State has also repeatedly blocked, under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), attempts by Taiwan to acquire components that would help it extend the range and yield of its missiles.
“The State Department is the keeper of the MTCR and ‘defensive weapons’ flame of the Taiwan Relations Act,” Rick Fisher, a senior fellow on Asian military affairs at the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, told the Taipei Times last week. “Absent a White House level of policy change, the US is not going to offer any leadership in this direction.”
The first analyst said there seemed to be some inconsistencies in Washington’s strict adherence to the MTCR when it comes to Taiwan.
“I don’t see much complaining about China developing and fielding missile systems able to strike targets on Taiwan and throughout the region,” he said.
GOOD INFLUENCE: Kwan said his mother tutored him at home for a few years, saying that she had to protect his ‘creativity’ as his writing had suffered Director and coproducer of the Oscar-winning absurdist comedy-drama Everything Everywhere All at Once Daniel Kwan (關家永) on Sunday dedicated the movie to his Taiwanese mother, who he said supported his creativity growing up. “She is someone who sacrificed a lot for her kids,” Kwan, 35, said backstage at the Oscars. The movie, released early last year, received a commanding 11 nominations at the Academy Awards, and won seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, with whom he also directed the 2016 fantasy film Swiss Army
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
Three people arrested earlier this year for growing cannabis plants with an estimated street value of nearly NT$20 million (US$652,507) in Chiayi County earlier this year could be sentenced to life in prison for breaching the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例), Taichung police said yesterday. A couple, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and suspect surnamed Hsu (徐) were found cultivating 91 cannabis plants on a farm in the county after law enforcement agents raided the site in the middle of January when they were about to harvest the field, Taichung police told a news conference. Taichung police said they were tipped off last year
HYGIENE KEY: The CDC reported two cases of enterovirus 71, which can cause serious complications, and as there have been no recent outbreaks, children are not immune Two cases of enterovirus 71 (EV71) were reported last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that it was a warning sign, as the virus has not been detected for more than a year. Parents are advised to remind their children to practice good hand hygiene, it said. Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉), director of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Center, said that 165,230 people visited a hospital for diarrhea last week, which is a high number. Most of the diarrhea case clusters were caused by norovirus infection, but there were also enterovirus cases, and weekly caseloads are slowly increasing, Guo said. Most of