In response to the increasing military threat posed by China, the Ministry of National Defense years ago began funding research to develop indigenous ballistic and cruise missile capabilities.
During a joint meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee and Finance Committee on Wednesday last week, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) for the first time publicly acknowledged the existence of the Yun Feng (雲峰, Cloud Peak) medium-range surface-to-surface missile program.
However, when asked if the missile had a range of 1,200km, he declined to provide further details in a public forum, and said he would let the committee members know in private.
Chiu was also asked whether the missile was still in development, to which he said that the military is “working on it.”
Due to unique circumstances in the Taiwan Strait, preparation and deployment of the Yun Feng missile should take into account three conditions:
First, as medium-range missiles are sensitive equipment, they would likely be classified as a strategic deterrent weapon by medium and small nations. It is therefore essential that the missile’s delivery vehicles are highly mobile to prevent the enemy from destroying them in a first strike.
If conflict with China were to occur, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army could be expected to attack Taiwan at a relatively high tempo. Consequently, Taiwan’s medium-range missiles and other special missiles should be equipped with mobile deployment capabilities to ensure that the nation can launch an effective counterstrike.
Second, although medium-range and cruise missiles are categorized as “strategic units” by the military, as Taiwan would not strike first, the missiles would only have second-strike capability.
If Taiwan were to fire its missiles first during the initial stages of a conflict with China, it would likely make it much more difficult to garner support and assistance from allies and sympathetic nations.
Third, the deployment of Yun Feng medium-range missiles would likely be tasked to the army, which could deploy them in fixed underground positions. Alternatively, it might embed the majority of the missiles within mobile units.
The military could also deploy the missiles on cargo ships during peacetime. If war were to break out, the ships could leave harbor and be strategically deployed at sea, increasing the flexibility of Taiwan’s missile deployment.
If fired at sea, this would make it much more difficult for China to obtain intelligence on a missile’s location before it was launched, thereby significantly augmenting Taiwan’s asymmetric combat capability.
Missiles are considered offensive and defensive weapons. If the Yun Feng medium-range missile program is successful, producing several hundred of them should not be a problem, significantly increasing the nation’s attack and defense capabilities.
The optimum solution would be to integrate them into ground-based mobile units and, during a war, at sea.
This would increase the defensive cost for China, while simultaneously reducing Taiwan’s defense burden.
Ray Song is a graduate of National Chung Cheng University’s Institute of Strategic and International Affairs.
Translated by Edward Jones
Far from signaling the end, a grim new consensus between Taipei and Washington must now spur a new beginning that ensures Taiwan’s survival. Military leaders in Taipei and Washington now agree there is a growing chance that by the middle of this decade the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership may decide to use its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to attack, or even invade, Taiwan. On October 6, 2021, Taiwan Minister for National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) told members of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, “By 2025, China will bring the cost and attrition to its lowest. It has the capacity now, but it will
As a recipient of Taiwan’s Medigen COVID-19 vaccine, I am unable to return to my homeland, Canada. More precisely, Canada would allow me to return as a technically unvaccinated citizen, subject to quarantine and the expense that entails, but I am forbidden from exiting Canada through an airport, even when I have met the vaccination requirements of my destination country. That means any visit to Canada must become a permanent one. Stepping on Canadian soil carries the consequence of renouncing my life in Taiwan — my job, my home and my friends. The idea of not being allowed to leave your country for
Ever since former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was recalled last year, “Han fans,” as well as the KMT hierarchy, have made pro-Taiwan lawmakers their enemy No. 1, and Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) has been on top of that list (“Recall part of ‘generational war’: expert,” Oct. 19, page 3). Chen has always been one of Han’s harshest critics, and Han fans have vowed revenge. Former legislators Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆) and Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), being such sore losers, were not amused about losing to Chen democratically and have amassed significant resources backed by
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) on Sunday admitted that he had been an informant for the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government. Huang wrote on Facebook that while he was a student in the 1980s, he was approached by intelligence officials, who threatened him after he had befriended alleged dissidents and forced him to work with the authorities. Fellow DPP lawmakers praised Huang’s courage in admitting his wrongdoings, with one lawmaker encouraging him not to resign from the party — as he had announced he would do. Conversely, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) used the opportunity to accuse