While delivering a four-yearly report to parliament on Thursday, Taiwan’s defense minister Feng Shih-kuan was asked whether Taiwan was capable of launching missiles at mainland China. “Yes,” Feng replied.
“It is the first time the ministry has confirmed this,” lawmaker Wang Ting-yu told the AFP, adding that Taiwanese missiles may be able to travel over 1,500 kilometers.
In the past, Taiwan has acknowledged that it produces cruise missiles, but had never gave any details about their capabilities.
The defense ministry appears to have finally decided to come clean due to continued military spending increases from Beijing which announced plans earlier this month to up defense spending by 7% to $151 billion this year — though independent estimates actually put the number much higher. In his report, Feng warned that the risk of invasion has also increased, adding that the mainland has more than 1,500 missiles pointed at Taiwan.
In response, Taiwan is also looking to beef up its own military spending. Feng said that military expenditures next year will rise to 3% of Taiwan’s GDP, up from 2% ($11.4 billion) this year. The ministry also announced plans to procure stealth fighter jets.
“Should the enemy insist on invading, we will weaken their capabilities by striking enemy troops at their home bases, fighting them at sea, crushing them as they approach the coastlines and wiping them out on the beaches,” the report said.
Still, Taiwan’s military numbers around 200,000 troops, compared to 2.3 million on the mainland.
Feng’s defense report was the first that has taken place since President Tsai Ing-wen took office last May. Since Tsai’s inauguration, relations with the mainland have grown cold. Last June, Beijing stopped all communication with the main Taiwan liaison office over Tsai’s refusal to endorse the concept of a single Chinese nation. Less than a week later, the Taiwanese navy accidentally fired a supersonic anti-ship missile towards the mainland just as the CPC was celebrating its 95th birthday.
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat