The outlook for ROCN sea control is worsening by the day. For one thing, in the event of an imminent conflict, Taipei must contend with the likelihood of a preemptive attack from China’s growing force of short-range ballistic missiles, which can strike at targets like ports and airfields . With the ROCN fleet concentrated in a few ports like Tsoying, Suao and Keelung, this constitutes a critical vulnerability in the island’s defenses (GlobalSecurity.org). In a much-discussed 2008 article, William Murray of U.S. Naval War College opines that China “has shifted its anti-Taiwan military strategy away from coercion by punishment toward denying Taiwan the use of its air force and navy.” Neither the ROCN nor the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF), says Murray, “is likely to survive such an attack” .The meat of the piece: what do Chinese observers of the ROC Navy think?
Chinese observers by and large agree that, for a variety of reasons, the Taiwan Navy is not up to par regarding the sea-control functions outlined in the ROCN Vision. Condescension pervades Chinese analyses of the ROCN. Writing in Modern Navy, Yang Peng notes that Taiwan’s surface fleet is acutely vulnerable to guided missile-strikes. The fleet’s AAW pickets are particularly susceptible to saturation missile attacks (baohe daodan gongji) and rely excessively on the protective umbrella hoisted by tactical air power . Yang forecasts that Taiwanese ships will hesitate to venture beyond the range of land-based air cover. This reticence severely constricts the Taiwanese Navy’s tactical radius. Wu Letian not only questions the Taiwan Navy’s ability to prosecute anti-submarine and minesweeping operations, but also deprecates its capacity to fight at sea for very long .We're wholly reliant on the US here in Taiwan. FAS has a complete list of ROC navy ships. Note that the Taiwan navy possesses many fast attack craft which are not covered in the Jamestown brief discussion. This force could probably do useful damage and deterrence in any cross-strait invasion scenario, and should probably be expanded. There is a useful description of them at GlobalSecurity.org....
- Roger Ebert on the new Formosa Betrayed film
- Taiwan in Cycles in the wilds of Taichung county.
- Tea masters on making a handmade tea set.
- Asia Sentinel with a great piece on the southern underground radio stations.
- Will China keep its promises? Be serious: after pledging to open its markets to US wind power, China squeezes US firms out. What does the US government expect will happen?
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