China able to stage attack on Taiwan by 2020: Taiwan MND report

China able to stage attack on Taiwan by 2020: Taiwan MND report

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Despite warming cross-strait ties, China has continued to enhance its combat capabilities to be ready to launch a full-scale military attack against Taiwan by 2020, according to a defence report released by the Ministry of National Defence (MND) yesterday.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been actively engaged in modernizing its armed forces by deploying new weapons to ramp up its combat capabilities needed to launch an all-out attack on Taiwan by 2020, said in the 2013 National Defence Report released by the MND yesterday.

The number of missiles stationed on China's southeastern coast targeting Taiwan has also grown steadily to over 1,400, showing that Beijing has never renounced the use of force against Taiwan to prevent it from declaring independence, despite thawing cross-strait ties, the report said.

Meanwhile, the growing cross-strait military imbalance continues to shift in Beijing's favour, the report said.

According to the latest defence white paper, China's military spending is approximately 10 times Taiwan's annually, and the PLA's soldiers reportedly number local servicemen by nearly 10 times.

Beijing now has 2.27 million soldiers and spends up to US$116 billion on military expenditures this year. Taiwan currently has 240,000 soldiers and its defence budget is only around US$10 billion this year, the report said.

Asked to comment, Cheng Yun-peng (成雲鵬), director-general of the MND's Department of Strategic Planning, said Taiwan will not engage in an arms race with China, but will focus instead on making optimal use of its defence budget and build a small but capable military based on the concept of asymmetric warfare.

The defence report also includes a series of reforms launched by the military in the wake of the tragic death of an Army corporal on July.

Reforms on Confinement System

The military has launched reforms over the management of military detention and confinement facilities, as well as an improvement in military disciplinary protocol, the white paper said.

In August, the Legislative Yuan also passed a court-martial law amendment making civilian prosecutors responsible for cases involving military servicemen during times of peace, it added.

These major reforms were launched following the death of Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘). Hung died of heatstroke on July 4 after being wrongfully put in disciplinary confinement for bringing a camera phone on base.

The military's probes later revealed administrative errors in the Army's processing of Hung's confinement; poor management on the part of military personnel responsible for monitoring Hung's confinement; and poor handling of the emergency rescue of Hung.

The national defence white paper has been released every two years since 1992, according to the MND.

A comic version of the national defence report was also released yesterday, as part of efforts to cultivate interest in military service among young readers, said the MND.

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