Taiwan shows off missile capabilities to deter China

The head of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan said that the island has self-produced Van Phong missiles capable of attacking Beijing, to deter China.

“The Van Phong missile has the ability to hit a target in Beijing, giving Taiwan the ability to attack this city. China needs to think carefully before attacking the island of Taiwan”, Taiwanese media on 14/05 6 quoted the director of the Legislative Yuan Yu Xikun as saying at a recent meeting.

He also emphasized Taiwan’s ambition to develop a highly independent domestic military industry to prepare for future cross-strait conflict scenarios.

China has not commented on this information.

Van Phong missile in a test firing.  Photo: Taiwan News.

Van Phong missile in a test firing. Image: Taiwan News.

The statement came days after Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said preventing Taiwan independence was Beijing’s “only option” when speaking at the 2022 Shangri-La Dialogue.

“We will fight at all costs and fight to the end. Those who seek independence for Taiwan in order to divide China will not have a good ending,” General Wei said, stressing that “no one will be beaten. undervalue the determination and capacity of the Chinese military” in safeguarding the integrity of its sovereignty.

The Van Phong missile seems to have been developed after the Taiwan Strait crisis in 1996, when the Chinese military carried out a series of missile tests with a direction of fire almost directly at Taiwan. In fact, China has launched three missiles, of which two fell just 48 km from Taipei, one fell about 56 km from Kaohsiung city.

Taiwan publishes very little information about the Van Phong missile project. It was developed by Zhongshan Institute of Science and Technology and has an original range of about 1,200-2,000 km. The rocket is placed on a ground-based launch pad, uses a ramjet engine with a solid-fuel booster stage, and can reach a speed of 3,700 km/h.

The Van Phong tests were conducted secretly under the cover of the Hung Phong III supersonic anti-ship missile test program. Taiwan’s media only reported on the weapon in late 2012, while the island’s defense agency first publicly acknowledged its possession of the missile in October 2021. The island defense force is said to be staffing 50 Van Phong missiles.

China considers Taiwan a part of its territory awaiting reunification and is ready to use force if necessary. Cross-Strait relations have recently become strained, as the Chinese military has increased military pressure on the island by traditional and non-traditional means.

In addition to flights close to the island with a record high number of aircraft, the Chinese military also conducted many landing exercises to occupy the coast near Taiwan. Meanwhile, Taiwan has invested heavily in procurement and upgrading of many types of weapons with support from the US to improve defense capabilities.

Vu Anh (Theo Drive)

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