Taiwan says missiles sufficient to survive Chinese saturation attack

MND denies reports it lacks enough missiles to defend against saturation attack

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Taiwanese military drill simulating defense against attack from China. (Internet image)

Taiwanese military drill simulating defense against attack from China. (Internet image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Monday (Sept. 21) denied reports that it lacked sufficient missile supplies to defend against a "saturation attack" by China.

In a press statement released on Monday, the MND said the Han Kuang 36 computer drills, which were held from Sept. 14 to Sept. 18, "not only fully achieved the training objectives but also obtained key verification results." The ministry then denied media reports that surfaced Monday alleging the results of the virtual war games had revealed Taiwan has a "shortage of precision missiles" to deal with a saturation attack.

The ministry stated that Taiwan's military is guided by the principle of "no provocation, no backing down" and "the closer the harassment, the more active the response." It stressed that it has redefined the rules of engagement from "first strike" to "the right to self-defense," which means that the armed forces will only fire first in the event of a clear danger of hostile enemy actions.

The MND then stressed that the various types of missiles in its inventory have been amassed in accordance with military strengthening plans. It claimed that at this current stage, weapons supplies meet the needs of defense operations and that there is no missile deficiency as was claimed by unnamed sources in the press.

A saturation attack is a military tactic in which an attacking force tries to gain the upper hand by overwhelming the ability of the defending forces to retaliate effectively. As the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been rapidly developing its armaments recently, the Taiwanese military simulated the "most severe combat scenario, 'saturated attack,' through its Hankuang computer wargames," according to the MND.

Based on the outcomes of these simulations, the ministry claimed it has "re-examined the strategic and tactical requirements of defense operations, focusing on how to quickly increase combat power and strengthen the replenishment of all types of armaments for air and sea combat to respond to new enemy threats." Rather than showing a lack of missiles with which to respond to a massive attack, the ministry appears to be indicating it was studying how to best allocate its existing inventory to survive and respond.

The ministry then stated that reports that Taiwan had "lost or won" in the simulations were false. It emphasized that the purpose of the virtual war games was to use the Joint Theater Level Simulation based on the "Joint Operations Requirements" to verify combat challenges item by item, under the most severe and unfavorable battlefield environments, to identify and solve problems — not to determine a "winner or loser."