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Taiwan developing new asymmetric warfare concepts to counter China's growing military capabilities, says Pentagon

Taiwan is developing new concepts and capabilities for asymmetric warfare to counter the growing capabilities of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the US Department of Defense (DoD) said in its 2020 report to Congress on military and security developments involving China.

Published on 1 September, the 200 page-long report stated that China’s multi-decade military modernisation effort has “eroded or negated many of the military advantages” Taiwan has historically had in the context of a possible cross-Strait conflict, including technological superiority and the inherent geographic advantages of island defence.

“Although Taiwan is taking important steps to compensate for the growing disparities – building its war reserve stocks, growing its defence-industrial base, improving joint operations and crisis response capabilities, and strengthening its officer and non-commissioned officer corps – these improvements only partially address Taiwan’s declining defensive advantages,” stated the Pentagon.

This is the reason why a modified strategy revealed by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei in its 2019 National Defense Report reflects adjustments for defending the island, by placing greater emphasis on protecting its littorals and near-shore coastal areas and suggesting greater reliance on the Republic of China Air Force and Navy, stated the Petangon report, which only covered developments up until the end of 2019.

Recognising the growing disparity between the defence expenditures of Taiwan and mainland China, Taipei is working on developing new concepts and capabilities for asymmetric warfare. “Some specific areas of emphasis include offensive and defensive information and EW [electronic warfare], high-speed stealth vessels, shore-based mobile missiles, rapid mining and minesweeping, unmanned aerial systems, and critical infrastructure protection,” said the Pentagon.

A missile launch vehicle unveiled by Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology in 2016 that is compatible with the island’s Hsiung-Feng II and Hsiung-Feng III anti-ship missiles. According to a 1 September report by the Pentagon, the island is developing new concepts and capabilities for asymmetric warfare to counter mainland China’s growing capabilities. (Janes / Kelvin Wong)

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