Chinese Authorities Expand Military Power

By Zeng Chunliang, Central News Agency
November 14, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: November 14, 2007 12:00 am

TAIPEI—According to the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) of Taiwan's Executive Yuan 1 , between April and May of this year, the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) twice passed through the waters between the islands of Kkinawa and Miyako, through the East China Sea, to arrive in the South China Sea of the Eastern Pacific.

Some experts believe that China now has the military capacity to control the waters of the first chain of islands as its inland sea, and that China's next goal will be to construct an oceangoing navy, aimed at the second chain of islands and the entire western Pacific.

PLA Show of Strength

The MAC official information showed that during the recent visit to mainland China of Admiral Timothy Keating, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, a Chinese military proposal was made to him to divide up the Pacific Ocean into U.S. and Chinese spheres of influence: control of the eastern Pacific region is to be given to the United States, while China would control the western Pacific. Although the proposal was refused later by General Paul V. Hester, commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, the Chinese authorities' military expansion was clearly exposed.

The MAC said that in addition to the attempt to show its strength, China has actively engaged in strengthening its projected military capability: The strategic missile, “Dongfeng-25” (DF-25), of the PLA's Second Artillery Forces was recently made public on the Internet. The DF-25 is one of the PLA's most advanced second-generation strategic missiles. The second-generation strategic missiles include the DF-21, DF-25, DF-31, DF-41 and Great Wave-2. All of these intercontinental-range ballistic missiles can be launched by a mobile launcher, can carry nuclear warheads and are accurate. Moreover, their survival rate is high.

Nuclear Threat Beyond Taiwan

The DF-25 is the most advanced medium-range surface-to-surface Chinese strategic missile and PLA troops have recently been trained in its use. It has the effective range of 3,200 kilometers (almost 2000 miles). This missile can reach most of Asia, including the U.S. military base on Guam, from the Chinese mainland. The DF-25 uses the high-energy solid rocket booster, and can carry three guided nuclear warheads. It is the world's only medium-range missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads.

The DF-21 has been upgraded, equipped with advanced guided missile warheads. These will be the first anti-ship ballistic missiles built by the Chinese military with the capability of attacking U.S. aircraft carriers in the Pacific.

The MAC pointed out that the projected Chinese air force capability has been restricted for a long time due to the lack of large aircraft. To overcome this problem, on February 26 of this year, the Chinese State Council approved, in principle, a long-term scientific and technological plan to develop large aircraft. The State Council set up a large aircraft shareholding company to kick it off. This large aircraft program includes both military and commercial aircrafts. The military project is said to be located in Xi'an, while the commercial project was established in Shanghai.

According to the MAC analysis, since China is relatively weak in engines, avionics and composite materials, the key question is whether the Beijing regime is willing to take a high degree of risk and make a long-term investment in the development of these large airplanes.

Note: [1] The president is both leader of Taiwan and commander in chief of its armed forces. The president has authority over the five administrative branches (Yuan): Executive, Legislative, Control, Judicial, and Examination. The president appoints the premier, the head of the executive Yuan. The Executive Yuan is comprised of the premier and the cabinet members who are responsible for policy and administration.