ROC COMPLETES MISSILE DEPLOYMENT ON OUTLYING ISLANDS
Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) The Republic of China armed forces have completed missile deployment on the country's outlying islands to beef up their defense capabilities in the face of the mounting threat from mainland China, a military expert said on Wednesday.
The expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was commenting on a Hong Kong newspaper report that the Beijing leadership has decided to use "an appropriate degree of force" against Taiwan, possibly including the occupation of an outlying island, should Taipei refuse to abandon President Lee Teng-hui's "special state-to-state" theory.
Noting that the ROC's military deployment on its outlying islands, many of which lie closer to mainland China than to Taiwan, is based on the principle of fortifying firepower while trimming manpower, the expert said military authorities have also taken into consideration the geographic situation of the various outlying islands, and the deployment of the enemy forces.
Under the military's troop reduction plan, the expert said, weaponry deployment on Taiwan's offshore frontline islands has been reinforced significantly to make up for the smaller number of personnel stationed on the islands.
According to the expert, the military began to deploy surface-to-air missiles on the island group of Penghu as far back as 1989, as the islands off Taiwan's southwestern coast sit at a strategic point close to the center of the Taiwan Strait.
Meanwhile, naval authorities are planning to deploy locally built Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles in Penghu which will be able to reach the southeastern mainland port city of Xiamen. The navy has also deployed the missiles, with a range of more than 100 kilometers, on the ROC's second-generation warships.
The expert went on to say that although military deployment in Penghu focuses on anti-invasion operations, the military has also built up sizable air and naval defense forces there.
As for other outlying island groups as Kinmen and Matsu, he continued, military deployment there focuses on traditional forces because some of their islets lie within firing range of mainland China artillery. Nevertheless, the military has also deployed chaparral missiles on some of the islets for low-altitude air defense.
Most noteworthy is Tungyin, an islet belonging to the Matsu group, which is out of range of mainland guns. Moreover, Tungyin is formed from granite, which makes for excellent natural protection, and is the only outlying island to have deployed the highly advanced surface-to-air Sky Bow missiles.
According to the expert, the deployments on the various outlying islands are not only for passive defense but also have a deterrent purpose. "Local people should have confidence in the defenses on the outlying islands," he added. (By Sofia Wu)