Taiwan's display of new missile 'wrongly boosts courage of secessionists'
Published: Jan 27, 2021 10:15 PM

A JH-7 fighter bomber attached to a naval aviation brigade under the PLA Northern Theater Command takes off during a flight training exercise in early January, 2021. ( by Duan Yanbing)

 Taiwan island's air force on Tuesday conducted a series of exercises, including showcasing a new missile and threatening to attack the Chinese mainland, with mainland experts saying on Wednesday the display of the weapon wrongly boosted the courage of secessionists, and risked accidents amid ongoing exercises by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) near the island. They also said the missile would not even be used if a war breaks out.

Media on the island of Taiwan reported on Tuesday that the island's air force held a series of exercises in Taitung on the day, displaying to the media for the first time the Wan Chien missile carried by the IDF fighter jet, as the PLA has been sending warplanes to the island's self-proclaimed southwestern air defense identification zone over the past few months.

A Wan Chien missile carries more than 100 submunitions and has a range of about 200 kilometers, meaning the IDF fighter jet can launch it from near the "middle line" of the Taiwan Strait and destroy costal military facilities including airfields in the Chinese mainland, Taiwan media reports claimed.

However, mainland military analysts said the missile poses an insignificant threat to the PLA, as the PLA will not allow its launch.

The IDF fighter jets, the launch platforms of the Wan Chien missiles, would be shot down by the PLA before they leave their airfields if a war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, as the PLA will seize complete air superiority, Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

No matter how good the missile is, it is useless if the launch platform is destroyed, Song said.

Even if the Taiwan military manages to launch some missiles, they can still be intercepted by PLA air defense forces, since this type of missile mainly glides in the air at only low speeds and is easily picked up and locked onto by radars, Beijing-based military expert Wei Dongxu told the Global Times.

Displaying the missile has little practical military meaning and has only wrongly boosted the courage of Taiwan secessionists, analysts said, adding that it raises tensions in the Taiwan Strait and risks accidents that could spark a conflict.

In response to a question on the recent frequent activities of PLA warplanes near the island, Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a regular press conference on Wednesday that, "To effectively deal with interference of foreign forces and a small number of 'Taiwan independent' forces and their secessionist moves, we are not promising to give up the use of force and will reserve the option of taking all measures," China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday.

When asked if the intensive PLA exercises have raised tension and could lead to conflict accidentally, Zhu said that this depends on the extent to which the Democratic Progressive Party authorities and "Taiwan independence" forces provocatively seek "independence," CCTV reported.