Taiwanese MP addresses possibility of invasion from China
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In new satellite images by Maxar, Beijing has built several mock-ups of US warships in the desert of Xinjiang. It is suggested these mock-ups will be used as possible training targets for the Chinese military.
The images show a full-scale outline of a US carrier and at least two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers.
A six-metre-wide rail system with a ship-sized target mounted on it can also be seen in the images.
Experts have suggested this could be used to simulate a moving vessel.
According to the Pentagon’s latest annual report, the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) conducted its first confirmed live-fire launch into the South China Sea last year.
PLARF fired six DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missiles into the waters north of the Spratly Islands, where China has territorial disputes with several nations.
Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, warned the tests at sea may have shown China “they are still far from creating an accurate ASBM”.
He said: “I don’t think the desert targets are going to be the final stage.
“It is meant for further refinement.”
Mr Koh said China’s ballistic test in the desert would not reflect the realistic conditions of a marine environment.
He continued: “The best way to test it and keep it out of the prying eyes of the US military and intelligence assets is to do it inland.”
The South China Sea is a highly contested region and faces claims from China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Diplomatic relations between the nations are already extremely strained.
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Over recent months, Beijing has asserted its dominance in the region and has built several military bases on some of the atolls.
Taiwan has long been a tense subject for China since a separate government was established on the island following the Chinese Civil War in 1949 and remains an important ally of Western countries.
Fears have erupted over recent months that, under Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing will use military force to reunify Taiwan with mainland China.
In July, China held a set of D-Day-style military drills simulating an invasion of Taiwan as tensions between the nations escalate.
Pressure is mounting on ‘Quad’ members – including Australia, Japan, India and the US – to counter against China’s dominance over Taiwan.
Back in March, Taiwan requested the name of its mission in the US capital be changed from “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” to “Taiwan Representative Office”.
This move would anger Beijing who claims the self-ruled island is part of its sovereign territory.
According to the Financial Times, seven of Taipei’s missions in countries without diplomatic recognition had “Taiwan” or “Republic of China” removed from their names as they face pressure from Beijing.
In July, Taiwan opened an office in Lithuania called the “Taiwanese Representative Office”.
However, Beijing subsequently recalled its ambassador to Vilnius and ordered Lithuania to recall its ambassador to China.
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