Mar 19, 2010

Taiwan: China air force covers North Taiwan with Russian-built missiles

Active ImageChina has installed eight battalions of Russian-built missiles in its province of Fujian which could hit any plane flying across Northern Taiwan, reports said yesterday.



Below is an article published by E-Taiwan News:

China has installed eight battalions of Russian-built missiles in its province of Fujian which could hit any plane flying across Northern Taiwan, reports said yesterday.

The Chinese-language Apple Daily quoted the Canadian-registered Kanwa Defense Review as saying that the Chinese air force had put up the S-300 PMU2 missiles at its Longtian base in the province. Since Fujian is only 130 kilometers from Taiwan and the surface-to-air missiles have a reach of 200 kilometers, they would be able to take down any aircraft in Northern Taiwan, including the presidential plane, the report said.

Taiwan's French-built Mirage 2000 jets, stationed at a base in Hsinchu County, could form the prime target for the Chinese missiles, the Apple Daily said. As soon as any of the Mirages took off, or if the president’s Air Force One left from Taipei's Songshan Airport, they would become immediately vulnerable to a missile attack, according to the report. The Ministry of National Defense said Taiwan's military had the capability to effectively monitor and closely watch developments while taking the necessary countermeasures.

The Apple Daily quoted Kanwa Defense Review as saying that China began installing the missiles in July 2007 and would complete the action later this year. The weapons package also included sophisticated radar equipment, the publication said. The 64N6E2 acquisition radar could collect data on aerial targets within a range of 300 kilometers, while the 30N6E2 guidance radar served to detect and track radar before making preparations for an attack, reports said.

The installation of the missiles showed that President Ma Ying-jeou's China-leaning policies were a complete failure, said opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Tsai Huang-liang. He demanded adjustments to government policies and an investigation by the United Nations into China's military moves.

Ruling Kuomintang lawmaker Lin Yu-fang on the contrary said Taiwan should not be too worried, since its recently ordered Patriot Advanced Capability-3 or PAC-3 missiles covered all Chinese jets moving over the Taiwan Straits. In addition, the Hsiung Feng missiles stationed on the island of Matsu close to the Fujian coast could attack Chinese navy vessels even before they left port, Lin said.

Other academics discounted the threat from the Chinese missiles. The S-300 PMU2 were defensive weapons not targeted at Taiwan, said Wong Ming-hsien, chairman of the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University. He told the paper that possible United States intervention in the area was the real reason for China deploying the Russian-built missiles.

China has targeted more than 1,000 missiles at Taiwan. Last January it protested vehemently with Washington against the latter's decision to sell a US$6.4 billion weapons package to Taipei. The deal covered the PAC-3 missiles, Black Hawk helicopters, mine-hunting vessels and communications equipment, but not the F-16 C/D jets and the diesel submarine designs Taiwan wanted.