China to Target 1,800 Missiles at Taiwan

Michaela Dodge /

According to the most recent news, China will likely target Taiwan with 1,800 missiles by the end of next year. The deployment of an additional 200 missiles with increased range and accuracy compared to previous types comes amid the easing of the tension between China and Taiwan following the 2008 election of President Ma Ying-jeou. The Taiwanese president ran on a platform of pursuing a more China-friendly policy. But pursuing such a policy has not affected Chinese efforts to improve its ballistic missile and long-range firepower capabilities.

Ballistic missiles are a weapon of choice for China for many reasons. First, they are highly survivable and mobile—deployed in underground facilities and on the railroads, they are hard to target or destroy. Second, the number of deployed ballistic missiles would defeat any countermeasures Taiwan might take. Third, ballistic missiles have significant political value to Chinese military planners. China can actually threaten with a massive ballistic missile attack in an effort to compel the Taiwanese government to bend to Chinese demands regarding the status of the island or any other issue.

This can significantly complicate U.S. efforts to support Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. This law, signed in 1979, signals continued U.S. support for Taiwan and authorizes U.S. defensive weapons exports to the country. (more…)