TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The number of Chinese missiles targeted at Taiwan will approach 2,000 by yearend despite government claims that peace is at hand, the Chinese-language Liberty Times daily quoted a military report as saying Sunday.
The analysis of China’s attack capabilities also found that if Beijing actually decided to launch the missiles this year, 90 percent of targets in Taiwan would be destroyed, the paper said.
Even though President Ma Ying-jeou claimed his closer ties to China resulted in the most relaxed cross-straits relations in 60 years, Beijing has still been increasing the number of missiles targeted at the island, with a total of 1,960 short-range and mid-range missiles likely by the end of the year, according to the report.
The Ministry of National Defense said China first identified Taiwan as one of its key enemy targets in 1993, while a decade later it set 2020 as the deadline for acquiring a capability to win a decisive victory in an armed conflict.
In addition to missiles, China was also converting decommissioned fighter jets into unmanned drones with the help of technology from Israel, the report said, adding that they could evade Taiwan’s air defense network and destroy important targets.
China was also receiving assistance from the sky, with 45 out of a total of 60 satellites devoted to gathering intelligence useful to the military, the report said.
Academia Sinica expert Lin Cheng-yi said China had helped create an impression of harmony by moving away major military drills from Fujian Province opposite Taiwan away to other regions and by stopping threatening language in the Hong Kong media. Nevertheless, it had never paused to strengthen its military, while even increasing its activity in areas south, north and even east of Taiwan as far as Guam, Lin said.
China could also use the increase in missiles to intimidate Japan, Vietnam and India once it decided to redeploy them, Lin said. He praised the Ministry of National Defense for researching the missile threat and for posting the results on its web site.