Gutsy Taiwan to mainland China: In your face
Small island won't be intimidated by Beijing's threat of 1,600 missiles
Reports suggest that the Taiwanese have deployed 100 of the indigenously produced missiles meant to act as a deterrent. The Hsiungfeng has a range of some 300 miles and has cost the military some $1.02 billion to produce.
If attacked, Taiwanese officials say that the cruise missiles would be aimed at airports and other military bases of the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA.
The only problem is that Beijing similarly has missiles targeted at Taiwan. Analysts say that the PLA has some 1,600 of its own short- and medium-range missiles aimed at Taiwan from the Chinese mainland.
The cruise missile deployment comes despite a general easing of tensions between Taipei and Beijing since Ma Ying-jeou was elected president in 2008. He was reelected to a second term last January.
The easing of relations has had the effect of increasing trade and Chinese tourists to the island.
However, China hasn’t renounced the possible use of force in its long-stated goal of retaking Taiwan which it regards as one of its provinces.
The U.S. is obliged to come to Taiwan’s assistance should it be attacked. In addition, the U.S. recently announced that it was putting more naval assets in the region of the South China Sea, which Beijing claims to be its area of influence and wants foreign navies to stay out.
The U.S. has undertaken to press the issue of freedom of navigation, as has India, which similarly is moving more naval assets into the South China Sea as it assists Vietnam in exploring for maritime resources under the sea.
China has raised concerns so far with India’s participation and has had a longstanding dispute with Vietnam and now the Philippines over undersea exploration for minerals in the South China Sea.