TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan responds to Chinese weapon building by developing rockets and interceptors themselves that can reduce Beijing's military advantage over its self-destined island, experts say.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, Taiwan used a series of missiles, another perfected and accelerated the production of a third, the analysts say, in the last sign of how it deals with a Chinese military threat on an armed confrontation.
President Xi Jinping has taken a tough stance against proponents of independence for the self-governed island democracy and has sent warships, bombers and fighter planes for training missions that circle the island in a powerhouse.
While Beijing has an increasingly overwhelming army advantage, Taiwan's missile systems are increasing the chances to keep China in asymmetrical warfare, said Alexander Huang, a professor of strategic studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan. The term refers to an enemy's effective resistance with focused firepower instead of overwhelming force.
"Taiwan with limited resources can only invest in the area that would create a kind of asymmetric advantage, which would keep the Chinese from taking action" Huang said. "President Tsai has expressed more or at least his willingness to invest more in asymmetrical assets."
Both parties have been governed separately since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, and China still claims sovereignty over Taiwan. Beijing has not ruled out the use of force to unite the sides, a threat it has emphasized in the midst of Tsai's constant rejection of his demand that both work together as parts of a single Chinese nation.
Hsiung Feng IIE rockets built in Taiwan are deployed to hit military bases in China to 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) removed, said David An, senior research fellow at Global Taiwan Institute policy incubator in Washington, DC
who missiles also underwent a "substantial upgrade" last year to increase their effectiveness against ships, An said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has boosted the production of its native air-ground the cruise missiles of Wan Chien by about 100, One added.
Supporting those improvements, the locally developed Ten Kung system can intercept Chinese missiles at distances of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles), An said. PAVE PAW, a US radar for long range warnings in the high central mountains of Taiwan, would track incoming missiles or aircraft.
Ministry of Defense spokesman Chen Chung-chi refused the deployment of the Hsiung Feng IIE missiles after military deployment to confirm news website Kanwa Defense Review has posted photos indicating that they are about 50 kilometers (31 miles) ) located west of the capital city of Taipei near the major international airport of the island. Kanwa did not respond to requests for comments.
China's Ministry of Defense did not respond immediately to requests for comments on Taiwan's missile program.
"They are more looking for building their land-based military capabilities," said Collin Koh, maritime safety research officer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
To put pressure on Tsai to meet his demands, the Communist leadership has flown a dozen times military aircraft to the island and the only functioning aircraft carrier of China by the 160 kilometers (100 miles) the strait through the sea is separated.
China has a powerful arsenal of missiles targeted at Taiwan and increased its military budget by 8.1 percent this year, compared with the increase of Taiwan by about 2 percent in 2017-2018. China is building warships at a world-building pace, and is also developing stealth-hunters and bombers that propel the speed of sound by up to six times.
Military experts probably call the deployment of the Hsiung Feng IIE missiles. "It has been successfully developed," said Andrew Yang, a former Taiwanese defense minister and current Secretary-General of the Chinese Policy Council's think tank. "They have tested many times and have called it successful."
China and Taiwan have never had a full war, although in the late 1950s China has extinguished the remote islands managed by Taiwan without conquering them. Former President of Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou eased the tension during his 2008-2016 term by negotiating with China on the basis of the Beijing conditions, but the frictions resumed under Tsai.
Success in an asymmetric war would depend on Taiwan's budget, the ability of its hardware and the attack strategy of China, say military analysts.
The current crop of Taiwan can probably hit ships and sink transport ships, according to An. Taiwan should also focus on resisting an amphibious landing, which the People & # 39; s Liberation Army Navy "has not shown to be able to do without significant costs," he said.
Taiwan is still lagging behind in submarines and stealth planes, according to An. It looks forward to the United States for a large part of its air force fleet and hopes that Washington will use it for diesel-electric submarine technology.
China routinely reverses the defense co-operation between Taiwan and the US, but has been unable to prevent the limited arms sales and exchanges that have occurred. Last Monday, President Donald Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, which requires, under his clauses, a "comprehensive assessment of the Taiwan armed forces" with a view to aid.
& # 39; The biggest promise of Taiwan is the hope that the United States and its allies could decide to help Taiwan as and when Taiwan is threatened, "said An.