China Building Up Short-Range Missiles Opposite Taiwan!
by Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
May 16, 2003
China's military is stepping up the buildup of short-range missiles opposite
Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Stokes stated in a recent briefing that China's military now has 450 missiles opposite Taiwan and that the number is expected to reach 600 by 2005.
Col. Stokes said the Chinese are adding 75 new missiles a year. Several years ago, the Pentagon estimated that Beijing was adding 50 new missiles a year.
Col. Stokes, one of the Pentagon's top specialists on the Chinese military, also said the Chinese missiles, primarily CSS-6 and CSS-7s, are getting more accurate. The missiles use U.S. Global Positioning System satellites for midcourse guidance correction.
Col. Stokes also said the Chinese are expected to deploy a new land attack cruise missile before 2005.
China's "growing arsenal of conventional and land attack cruise missiles pose [the] most significant [Chinese] coercive threat to Taiwan," he said. A copy of his briefing slides to the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, held in Texas, was obtained by us.
"Taiwan has limited ability to defense against [Chinese] ballistic missiles today," Col. Stokes said in an appeal to Taiwanese military officials to buy and field missile defenses. "Taiwan's senior political and military leadership must commit to defending against ballistic and land attack cruise missiles."
Taipei is under pressure from the United States to purchase U.S. Patriot PAC-3 antimissile systems, and defense officials say a purchase is expected this year.