South China Sea: As tensions between Taiwan and China continue to escalate, satellite images reportedly show amphibious armoured vehicles and mobile missile launchers massing at military bases near the island nation.
Though Taiwan, a country of 25 million people, is happy as an independent democracy, Beijing insists it is a “breakaway province” and “inviolate” Chinese territory, repeatedly stating it will use force to bring the island back under China’s control.
Now the images have shown the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) moving the military vehicles into the Eastern Theatre Command on China’s coastal cities across the strait from Taiwan, with missile launchers well within range to hit any targets in Taiwan.
“We make no promise to abandon the use of force, and retain the option of taking all necessary measures,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in a recent speech.
Under its ‘one country, two systems’ policy, Beijing insists Taiwan is part of its sovereign mandate. Which is why its so-called ‘wolf warrior’ diplomats have reacted with outrage at news this week that the US Health Secretary will visit the island to discuss its success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Chinese fighters and bombers have been engaged in a series of “combat readiness” exercises over the disputed South China Sea, with combat aircraft and naval vessels observed visiting illegal island fortresses in the Spratly Islands.
Tension reaching boiling point
The Type 05 amphibious armoured vehicles are designed to deliver troops from the sea across a beachhead battlefield.
“The PLA are also deploying the powerful Type PCL191 multiple launch rocket systems to the ground forces of the Eastern Theatre Command,” Kanwa Asian magazine defence editor Andrei Chang writes. These have a range of some 350km.
“The Taiwan Strait is just 180km across. The PCL191 rocket launchers are able to destroy all military bases and government buildings on the island accurately.”
Meanwhile, Taiwan has responded by sending a company of about 200 marines to reinforce the Pratas Islands national marine park in the South China Sea – 445km from Taiwan and 300km from China.
China’s Great Firewall
Its national censorship tool, is now blocking all encrypted HTTPS connections that are being set up using modern, interception-proof protocols and technologies like encrypted HTTPS traffic that uses TLS 1.3 and ESNI.
NZ Herald / Balkantimes.press