Taiwan’s military situation ‘looks bleak’ against China says expert
After Nancy Pelosi, US Speaker of the House of Representatives, travelled to Taiwan, China has shared its outrage and threatened retaliation. Ms Pelosi left Taiwan on Wednesday, but China has announced “necessary and just” military drills in seas around 10 miles (16km) from the country, beginning on Thursday.
Taiwanese military expert Lu Li-shi predicted China could fire missiles over Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, as they head towards one of the six zones the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has designated for live-fire exercises this week.
In a Facebook post released on Wednesday, Mr Lu suggested the fourth exercise area had been designed to enable missiles launched from Leping to fly over Taipei, missiles launched from Ganzhou to fly over Taichung, and missiles launched from Danzhou to fly over Kaohsiung.
He stated that the purpose of the missile tests was to trigger Taiwan’s “missile air raid warning” alert text message to “impact the morale of the people.”
Mr Lu said that the MRLs can be used to interfere with Taiwan naval patrols in the Taiwan Strait.
The expert added that the PLA can take videos of the MRL launches and their impacts on the sea to conduct cognitive warfare.
An expert warned China could fire missiles over Taiwan as soon as today
Lu Li-shi said China could fire missiles over Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung
Mr Lu also suggested the PLA’s six live-fire zones focus on displaying firepower.
He estimated that the PLA bases in Leping and Ganzhou in China’s Jiangxi Province are 850 and 865 kilometers, respectively, from the No. 4 target area, which is situated off the east coast of Hualien.
He said that these launch points are within the 1000-kilometer range of the Dong-Feng 15 short-range ballistic missile.
If the base in Danzhou, Hainan is used, which is 1,450 kilometers away from the target point, the Dong-Feng 16 short-range ballistic missile must be used as it has a range of up to 1,500 kilometers.
Mr Lu shared he hoped the PLA “would not be foolish enough to use the DF-17 (medium-range ballistic missile) to enable the Leshan (radar station’s) long-range early warning radar to analyze the trajectory.”
He closed by calling on the Taiwanese to be “mentally tough.”
The tests purpose was to trigger Taiwan’s alerts to ‘impact the morale of the people’
Lu also suggested the PLA’s six live-fire zones focus on displaying firepower
Beijing regards independent Taiwan as a breakaway province from mainland China, and has vowed to reunite the island with the mainland.
At midday local time (5am BST), state broadcaster CCTV said Beijing’s military drills around Taiwan’s main island have started.
They said: “From 12pm today to 12pm [4am GMT] on the 7th, the People’s Liberation Army is conducting an important military training exercise and organised live fire.
“During this actual combat exercises, six major areas around the island were selected and during this period all ships and aircraft should not enter the relevant sea areas and airspace.”
CCTV said Beijing’s military drills around Taiwan’s main island have started at 5am
Taiwanese authorities have accused the PLA of in effect conducting a blockade with its live fire drills, which overlap with Taiwanese territorial waters and are close to key ports.
Taiwan’s ministry of defence said its armed forces are “operating as usual” and monitoring surroundings.
They added: “We seek no escalation, but we don’t stand down when it comes to our security and sovereignty.”
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan outraged Beijing, who said the US is ‘violating China’s sovereignty’
At 8.24am, or 2.24pm local time, Taiwan said two missiles were launched by Beijing near the Matsu islands, which lie off the coast of China.
They were seen headed in the direction of the #2 and #3 drill zones previously announced by China, according to an internal Taiwan security report that has been seen by Reuters and confirmed by a security source.
It comes as Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi described Ms Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a “complete farce” at meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Cambodia on Thursday.
He said: “The irreversible historical trend of Taiwan’s return to the motherland cannot be changed. Those who offend China will surely be punished.”
Mr Wang also accused the US of “violating China’s sovereignty under the guise of so-called democracy”.
Ms Pelosi said in a statement after her visit that China cannot “prevent world leaders or anyone from traveling to Taiwan to pay respect to its flourishing democracy”.