Mainland reportedly sites missiles in southeast

     Published: December 1, 1999
Source: Taiwan News

     Mainland China's southeastern Fujian province, rather than the southwestern Sichuan and central Shaanxi provinces, is the launch site of the mainland's newest short range ballistic missiles, according to military assessment.

Contrary to reports by local and foreign media, Chao Lian-di, assistant chief at the Defense Ministry's intelligence office, said the modified M-11 missiles are mostly based at Fujian's Yungan and Nanping.

As for M-9 missiles, which were tested by mainland China during the cross-strait crisis in 1995 and 1996, Chao said the whole Fujian province is a possible firing site.

M-11 and M-9 missiles, seen as the most intimidating missiles directed at Taiwan, have ranges of up to 450 kilometers and 600 kilometers respectively.

The estimates, based on collected intelligence and missile range, contrasted earlier speculation by the Washington Times and local press that mainland China has deployed the M-11 missiles in Sichuan and Shaanxi.

Yungan and Nanping were the two bases from which mainland China fired M-9 missiles into sea off Taiwan in 1996, following President Lee Teng-hui's 1995 visit to his alma mater, Cornell University, and Taiwan's first direct presidential election.

Presently, the missiles are stored at the Jiangxi base, some 200 kilometers away from the Yungan and Nanping bases.

Chao declined to comment on whether there is enough time for Taiwan to take immediate countermeasures.

Assistant chief of the warfare office Chung Shen-ning said the island is capable of monitoring and reacting immediately to any single move by mainland China's military.

Today, Taiwan stations three batteries of Patriot Advanced Capability-2 missiles, a lower-tier missile defense system that builds on the Patriot missiles first used during the Gulf War, in the densely-populated greater Taipei area.

Chung went on to say that the PAC-3 systems which Taiwan is trying to get from the United States will be deployed to protect Taichung in central Taiwan and Kaohsiung in the southern part of the island.

The locally-developed Sky Bow surface-to-air missile system designed for air defense against intensive aircraft attack has also been improved. The military is now working on enhancing the island's early warning capability, he said.