China to position eight landing craft near Taiwan

Production of amphibious attack vessels a priority: Chinese analyst

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The Type-071 Changbaishan during a visit to the Netherlands (photo by Kees Torn).

The Type-071 Changbaishan during a visit to the Netherlands (photo by Kees Torn). (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Once all of its eight new landing vessels are launched, China will position half of them north of Taiwan and the other half to the south of the island, the China Times reported Wednesday (August 14).

Six of the 20,000-ton Type 071 ships are already in service, while the final two were completed last June but are still being prepared, according to the report.

The ships could launch an attack with the help of the helicopters they carry on board, but these cannot provide sufficient air cover to guarantee the success of a landing operation, the newspaper quoted Chinese military analyst Zhang Zhaozhong as saying.

China is developing new helicopters and amphibious attack craft which would help redress the situation from its viewpoint, according to Zhang, who said the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard near Shanghai is unlikely to turn out more of the Type 071 landing craft as amphibious attack vessels would become the top priority.