Images of mobile launchers posted on the Internet last week could provide confirmation of the long-suspected deployment of the Dong Feng 16 (DF-16), China’s most recent medium-range ballistic missile.
The pictures, which were taken at an undisclosed location, showed a pair of 5x5 wheeled transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles surmounted by wide, half-oval-shaped covers for the missile ramp, driving in an urban area. In three of the pictures seen by the Taipei Times, street signs had been digitally blurred out.
News of a potential new class of Dong Feng missile emerged in March last year when National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) told the legislature that the Chinese military had completed testing the DF-16 and begun its deployment. The revelation caught the intelligence community by surprise and sparked debate on whether China had in fact developed a new class of missile or that what Tsai was referring to was simply an extended-range variant of the DF-15 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
Analysts said at the time that the DF-16 could have maneuverable capability to counter air-defense systems, such as Taiwan’s PAC-3s, with the higher re-entry speed associated with its higher ascent making it more difficult to intercept.
Up until now, little news concerning a DF-16 has emerged, though defense analysts agree that it would make sense for the Chinese military to develop a medium-range missile to fill the gap between the DF-11 and DF-15 SRBMs — most of which are directed at Taiwan — and the long-range DF-21.
The TELs seen in the images that came out last week have larger missile ramp covers, which would indicate the presence of a missile larger than the DF-15.
Although the location where the pictures were taken has yet to be confirmed, Mark Stokes of the Project 2049 Institute, an expert on the People’s Liberation Army’s Second Artillery Corps, speculates that the DF-16 could be deployed at 52 Base 827 Brigade (Unit 91166) in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province. The location of the base, added to the missile’s suspected 1,000km to 1,200km range, could make 91166 a “swing unit,” with the ability to target not just Taiwan, but as China starts flexing its muscles within the region, also serve as a deterrent in the South China Sea and Vietnam, more specifically.
HIGH STAKES: An attack on Taiwan could prompt a joint response from the US and Japan, and trigger a global conflict that could bring down the CCP, Liu Tai-ying said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not be able to launch an invasion of Taiwan for at least another 10 years, Taiwan Research Institute founder Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) said on Friday. To occupy Taiwan, China needs to transport at least 300,000 to 400,000 troops across the Taiwan Strait during battle, but it would lack the ability to do so for at least another decade, said Liu, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) treasurer and a close aide to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). The challenges that China would face during an attempted invasion of Taiwan would be even greater than those
CHINA CRITIC: Prime ministerial candidate Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner in today’s election, said that she would not renew a Belt and Road Initiative deal with Beijing Italian lawmaker Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner to become the country’s next prime minister, is expected to reverse course on Italy’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen ties with Taiwan if a coalition headed by her party wins the country’s general election today. “Without any doubt, if there is a center-right government, it is sure that Taiwan will be an essential concern for Italy,” Meloni told the Central News Agency in an interview. Italians are to vote in a snap election triggered by the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi following a failed attempt to get his coalition partners
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
HAWAII MODEL: While Hawaii held a referendum on becoming the 50th US state, Taiwan has never applied to join the People’s Republic of China, Miles Yu said China comparing Taiwanese independence to Hawaii seeking independence from the US is illogical, as Taiwan has never applied to be a part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hudson Institute senior fellow Miles Yu (余茂春) said over the weekend. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, has given multiple talks asserting Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. In a speech to the Asia Society on Thursday, Wang likened Taiwan to Hawaii. “Just as the US would not allow Hawaii to break away,” Beijing “reserves the right” to seek unification, Wang told the gathering. The