The People’s Liberation Army has been upgrading its missile bases on the coast that faces the island nation of Taiwan. A China-based military source said the country had deployed its advanced hypersonic missile the DF-17 to the coastal region. Speaking to the South China Morning Post the source said: “The DF-17 hypersonic missile will gradually replace the old DF-11s and DF-15s that were deployed in the southeast region for decades.
“The new missile has a longer range and is able to hit targets more accurately.”
The hypersonic DF-17 missile has a maximum range of 1,550 miles.
Military analysts have said the Chinese marine corps and rocket force bases on the coast have expanded in recent years.
Editor-in-chief of the Canada-based Kanwa Defence Review Andrei Chang said: “Every rocket force brigade in Fujian and Guangdong is now fully equipped.
“The size of some of the missile bases in the Eastern and Southern theatre commands have even doubled in recent years, showing the PLA is stepping up preparations for a war targeting Taiwan.”
China’s People’s Liberation Army continues its exercises modelling an invasion of the island democracy of Taiwan.
This is designed to keep up the pressure on the island nation and sow the seeds of doubt in Taiwan’s confidence to defend itself.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have hit a high not seen in years.
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Most recently Chinese warplanes crossed to the median line, the narrow strait separating the two sides.
Now the Trump administration plans to sell Taiwan billions of dollars in weapons, from missiles to surveillance drones in order to shore up its defences against any potential attack by Beijing.
Taiwan is a democracy with a separate government, but President Xi Jinping considers it a part of his People’s Republic of China.
Last week Taiwan’s President Tsai visited one of the country’s airforce bases and said: “Following a spike in tensions between Taiwan and China as the commander-in-chief of our national armed forces I want to assure the people that our national army officers and soldiers are absolutely capable and determined to defend the country and safeguard regional peace.”
This was the same base that pilots scrambled jets to intercept nearly 40 Chinese warplanes and bombers that had entered Taiwan’s air defence zone in late September.
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Taiwan is determined to prove it’s prepared to defend itself and has conducted live-fire exercises modelling a Chinese invasion.
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have become strained since the election in 2016 of president Tsai.
President Xi Jinping of China views Taiwan as part of China.
Tensions have also been fueled by the presence in Taiwan of US health secretary Alex Zazar in September.
He has been the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan since 1979.
The US official’s visit comes as the Trump administration increases its support for Taipei as ties with Beijing sour.