| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Taiwan says China can ‘paralyse’ its defences, threat worsening

The island’s defense ministry said China’s military forces can “paralyze” Taiwan’s defenses and thoroughly monitor its deployments, presenting a scathing assessment of the escalating threat posed by its bigger neighbor.

Beijing is escalating military operations surrounding the island, which it considers Chinese property. It has never renounced the use of force to seize control of democratic Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry offered a significantly more dire picture of China’s military in its annual report to parliament on China’s military, which Reuters obtained. Last year, the report claimed China still lacked the potential to launch a full-scale assault on Taiwan.

China can undertake “soft and strong electronic attacks,” according to this year’s assessment, including disrupting communications across the western portion of the first island chain, which stretches from the Japanese archipelago to Taiwan and down to the Philippines.

China “can combine with its internet army to launch wired and wireless attacks against the global internet, which would initially paralyze our air defenses, command of the sea and counter-attack system abilities, presenting a huge threat to us”.

China has also improved its reconnaissance abilities using Beidou, China’s answer to the U.S.-owned GPS navigation system, the ministry added.

This means Beijing can monitor movements around Taiwan, helped by China’s regular use of its own spy planes, drones and intelligence gathering ships, it said.

China’s Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Although Taiwan’s report noted, like last year, that China still lacked transport abilities and logistical support for a large-scale invasion, the Chinese military is working to boost those abilities.

With precision missile attacks that can hit anywhere on the island, China is also capable of “paralyzing” Taiwan Military command centers and combat capacity of its naval and air forces, it said.

Chinese spies in Taiwan could launch a “decapitation strike” to destroy political and economic infrastructure, it added.

With the deployment of mid- and long-range missiles and more exercises involving its aircraft carriers, China is trying to position itself to delay “foreign military intervention” in an attack on Taiwan, the ministry said.

President Tsai Ing-wen has made bolstering Taiwan’s own defenses a priority, building up its domestic defense industry and buying more equipment from the United States, the island’s most important arms supplier and international backer.

  • Reuters