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Taiwan Confirms Deployment of Supersonic Missiles That can Reach Beijing

According to Chinese news site Sohu (NASDAQ: SOHU), Taiwan’s Chinese Academy of Sciences recently announced the debut of a supersonic cruise missile named Ching Tien. The missile was officially approved for development a few years ago and completed formal operational evaluation at the end of last year. The missile has entered the mass production stage, and the first batch of missiles has been deployed to the Taiwanese military’s missile command headquarters.

The Taiwan authorities expect to deploy 15-20 Ching Tien missiles on mobile launch platforms in northern and central Taiwan. The missiles are 14 meters long with a range of around 2,000 kilometers, sufficient to reach Beijing from Taiwan. With the missile’s deployment, the Taiwanese military now has a strategic weapon for medium and long-range strikes for the first time.

It is expected that mass production efficiency of this missile will further improve starting next year. Taiwanese authorities appear to be fully engaged in missile development activities, and the message is very clear: if the Mainland can use missiles to attack Taiwan, then Taiwan must also have the ability to attack Mainland China’s coastal and inland cities, including Beijing.

The new Taiwanese missile lacks the stealth penetration capabilities of some U.S. cruise missiles. Meanwhile, Mainland China’s military has already deployed a large number of air defense and anti-missile systems in the southeastern coastal areas, potentially providing some defensive protection against the new missiles.

Source: Sohu, November 18, 2023

Taiwan Investigates CCP Spy Network Targeting Retired Military Generals

Taiwanese authorities are investigating a case involving retired military generals implicated in espionage on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The investigation centers around suspect Zhu Kangming, who served as the secretary to Taiwanese Lieutenant General Jiang Weiguo (the brother of former Taiwanese President Jiang Jingguo). Zhu is accused of trying to help the CCP entice over 20 retired military generals to visit mainland China and accept the CCP’s hospitality.

It is reported that Zhu is a Hong Kong resident. Though he is not a retired military officer, he has connections with many important military leaders in Taiwan. From 2017 to 2023, he has continuously identified and introduced high-ranking military officers with certain specific ranks and/or in certain specific military branches, trying to persuade them to visit China or the United States for hospitality. These trips provided opportunities for the CCP’s United Front organs to contact, influence, and possibly recruit those officers, potentially convincing them to support the CCP’s “peaceful reunification” and “one country, two systems” ideologies.

Source: United Daily News, November 11, 2023

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry Confirms China’s MSS Hacked Presidential Office

South Korea’s newspaper of record Dong-a Ilbo reported that China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) hacked the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs last January and leaked 4.5GB of emails. The hacking took place during former President Moon Jae-in’s presidency. South Korean authorities admitted that the attack came from China and said that the MSS also infiltrated the computer network at Korea’s Blue House presidential office.

The Dong-A Ilbo report quoted a South Korean government source saying that an investigation by Korea’s National Intelligence Service concluded that MSS was behind the attack. To pull off the hack, the MSS exploited vulnerabilities in spam-blocking equipment. This gives South Korea strong evidence that China was trying to steal confidential information regarding Korea’s government and presidential office.

Korea’s foreign ministry confirmed that emails were leaked but said they “did not contain any secrets” and were mostly personal spam. However, the Korean investigation found evidence that the MSS attempted to go further with its hacking, “trying to invade the [Korean] Wa Dae computer network to gain access to confidential documents from the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.” According to the article, the South Korean government has been aware of the hacking since January 2022. An ally notified South Korea through intelligence channels that there were signs of Chinese hackers breaching the foreign ministry, and the incoming Yoon administration immediately investigated.

Analysts suggest the vulnerability to cyber-attacks may have been a motivating factor behind President Yoon’s decision to move the Korean presidential residence from the historic Blue House to the Ministry of Defense Building.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 10, 2023

PLA Daily: “Don’t Rely Too Much on High-tech Equipment”

People’s Liberation Army Daily (PLA Daily), the official mouthpiece of the Chinese military has published an opinion article titled “Don’t rely too much on high-tech equipment.” The article, published on October 24 follows the imposition of U.S.-led computer chip sanctions aimed at curbing China’s ability to build out its military force.

The article states “[we should] avoid breeding arrogance through over-reliance (on weapons and equipment). As Engels said, guns do not move on their own; it takes a brave heart and strong hands to use them.” It goes on to say, “Throughout the history of human warfare, the well-equipped army is not always victorious, and the technologically advanced party may not be the ultimate winner of the war. If an army relies too much on advanced technology and excellent equipment to the neglect of physical exercise and the training of fighting spirit, it is easy to breed ‘arrogance’ and ‘squeamishness’. This leads to lack of aggressiveness and combat effectiveness under harsh combat conditions.”

The article says that, during “the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea” (i.e. the Korean War), a captured American company commander said “the U.S. Army troops pay far too much attention to weapons and equipment to the serious neglect of combat strategies, tactics, and the will power of officers and soldiers. This may be the reason why we were often defeated by the Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV) army”.

The article concludes with the following remark: “In the battlefield of the future, even while in possession of high-tech equipment that can compete with the strongest of enemies, we cannot neglect to sharpen our spirit. Just as it is important to upgrade our weapons and equipment, we should also strengthen the fighting spirit of our officers and soldiers — to have no fear of suffering and death.”

Source: (Phoenix), October 24, 2023

Chinese Warplanes Aggressive Maneuver Near Canadian and U.S. Planes

On October 17 a Chinese military aircraft provocatively intercepted a Canadian Armed Forces Aurora aircraft in international airspace near China’s territorial waters. At the time, the Canadian aircraft was in an operation to enforce United Nations sanctions that prevent illegal transportation of oil to North Korea. The Canadian crew had identified a “suspicious vessel” that was on a watchlist.

During its eight hours of flight, the Canadian aircraft was intercepted by at least two Chinese fighter jets who flew with the Canadian plane for several hours. Chinese jet aircraft at one point came as close as 15 feet from the Canadian aircraft. The Chinese aircraft also launched multiple illumination flares in the vicinity of the Canadian aircraft.

The Washington Post reported that in the past few years Beijing has intensified these kinds of dangerous maneuvers targeting planes of the U.S. and its allies and partners. The total number of such encounters is now near 300. On October 17, Pentagon released videos and photos of some incidents, including an incident in January 2023 where a Chinese J-11 fighter jet flew about 30 feet from an American RC-135 plane and lingered for 15 minutes, and an incident in May 2022 where a Chinese fighter jet flew 15 feet laterally below a US Navy EP-3 plane.

1. Radio France International, October 17, 2023国际/20231017-加媒-中国战机以-挑衅方式-拦截加拿大军机
2. Washington Post, October 17, 2023

New “People’s Armed Forces Departments” in Chinese State-Owned Enterprises

The Shanghai Urban Investment Group recently established a People’s Armed Forces Department (AFD) under the management of the PLA Shanghai Garrison. This follows similar AFDs established by other state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in cities like Wuhan and Huizhou this year.

Chinese law allows for establishment of AFDs for purposes of enterprise security and emergency management. Some believe the recent trend represents Beijing’s response to growing social unrest or civil rights activism. Others have wondered if the trend is in preparation for greater “management [of society] by the military.”

The AFD of the Shanghai Group, whose business focuses on urban construction and infrastructure, was established on September 28th with PLA officers present. An attending PLA official requested that the AFD help “grasp the political nature of the Party’s armed forces work.” Commentator Bi Xin provided the interpretation that AFDs are meant to “control unrest between the government and people.” It is plausible that military cooperation with an urban construction business such as the Shanghai Group could aid in suppressing potential unrest.

Over 20 SOEs have now established armed forces departments this year. In August, three SOEs in Huizhou set up a joint AFD. In September, the Wuhan Agricultural Group set up an AFD, noting that other Wuhan SOEs had done so as well. The Mongolian-based dairy distributor Mengniu Group also established a AFD in May.

Commentator Zhang Jianping said that “maintaining social stability” (suppressing unrest) is in the interest of urban construction and real estate businesses given how indebted the sector has become. He also remarked that AFDs are useful in that they provide veteran PLA soldiers with jobs, and that Chinese society has recently become more and more unstable and unlawful.

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 3, 2023

PLA Officer Advocates Preemptive Strikes Against U.S. in Event of War

Li Li (李莉), a prominent military commentator and esteemed professor at China’s National Defense University, recently made a bold assertion during a televised discussion. In contemplating the prospect of armed conflict, Li recommended that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) consider a proactive “preemptive” approach, targeting U.S. military installations in Japan as a primary strategic objective.

Li’s perspective can be summarized as follows: “In the event of war, our foremost imperative is to preemptively neutralize U.S. military bases situated in Japan.” In her discourse, Li used the term “American imperialism” to refer to the United States and emphasized that “we will not hesitate like Russia did”. She firmly asserted that “only decisive and swift counteraction can guarantee our nation’s survival and sustained progress. We shall not delay in neutralizing U.S. ‘black’ aircraft carriers and ‘black’ bombers. We shall seize the earliest opportunity to take actions and leave the enemy no chance to breathe.”

Source: Aboluo, September 8, 2023

Xi Jinping Orders Comprehensive Improvement of Troops’ Ability for War Preparation

Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping inspected the 78th Army Group on September 8th, ordering improvements in war preparedness and ability to fight. Xi emphasized implementing the military strategic policy and innovations in management and operations for the new era’s strong army concept.

Xi was accompanied by Vice Chairman Zhang Youxia of the Central Military Commission. Xi said the 78th Army Group needs to enhance military struggle preparation, strengthen specialized training in difficult courses, build new high-quality combat capabilities, and integrate joint combat systems.

Xi also said Communist Party building in the troops must be strengthened to implement the spirit of the All-Military Party Construction Conference. This will increase creativity, cohesion and combat effectiveness of Party organizations. Grassroots troop education and high levels of centralized unity and stability are also crucial.

The second round of thematic education should be carefully organized to solve troop development bottlenecks, solve officer and soldier problems proactively, and create new progress in army group construction.

In July, Xi visited the Eastern Military Zone authorities, saying war and combat planning should be deepened, joint combat command systems strengthened, and combat-oriented training conducted to accelerate capability improvements for winning.

The Eastern Military Zone covers six provinces near the Taiwan Strait and East China Sea. Xi’s recent visits emphasize building up China’s military strength and readiness for conflict, particularly regarding Taiwan.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), September 11, 2023