A Taiwanese report projects that China will target hundreds of additional missiles on the island before the end of 2010, Reuters reported today (see GSN, May 19).
Deployment of the new armaments would raise the number of Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan to 2,000, up from between 1,000 and 1,400 weapons today, according to the study.
Fielding 2,000 short- and medium-range missiles along the Taiwan Strait would fall in line with Beijing's broader plans for revamping its armed forces, Taiwanese Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang said.
"In the process of improving air missile capabilities, that could be the number by the end of the year," Yang said. "We always show our concern, because we see China still has this intention. They are not reducing missiles."
China is gaining a military edge against Taiwan and could be capable of devastating 90 percent of the island's key assets, says the report published in the Taiwanese Defense Ministry's naval studies journal. While Taiwan has an autonomous government, Beijing claims the island state as its territory and has threatened to use force should it pursue formal independence.
The sides recently agreed to permit direct passenger flights, and they inked a trade deal last month aimed at strengthening their economic ties.
"Even though we've signed the trade deal, there won't be any progress on military issues," said Hsu Yung-ming, a political science professor with Soochow University (Ralph Jennings, Reuters, July 19).
China was believed earlier this year to have conducted its first antisatellite test since 2007 in response to a planned sale of U.S. Patriot missile defenses to Taiwan, China Daily reported (China Daily, July 19; see GSN, June 16). Foreign Policy initially reported the launch in March (Tom Mahnken, Foreign Policy, March 22).