KEY POINTS

  • China's new reconnaissance system helps monitor movements around Taiwan
  • The report said PLA's precision missile attacks can hit anywhere on the island
  • However, China lacks logistical support to launch a large-scale landing operation

As China ramps up its Taiwan invasion plan, the latter has raised alarm over the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) improved ability to fully monitor its deployments and "paralyze" its defenses.

In an annual report on the PLA submitted to parliament Tuesday, Taiwan's Defence Ministry said China can launch "soft and hard electronic attacks" which included blocking communications across the western part of the first island chain, the string of islands that run from the Japanese archipelago, through Taiwan and down to the Philippines, reported Reuters.

This is in stark contrast to what it said in the report last year. It had then maintained that China could not still launch a full assault on Taiwan.

As per the report, Beijing "can combine with its internet army to launch wired and wireless attacks against the global internet, which would initially paralyze our air defenses, command of the sea and counter-attack system abilities, presenting a huge threat to us". 

The ministry warns that China also has improved its reconnaissance, hinting at Beidou, China's answer to the U.S.-owned GPS navigation system. This will aid the nation to monitor movements around Taiwan using its spy planes, drones, and intelligence gathering ships, the report said.

The report also touched upon PLA's precision missile attacks that can hit anywhere on the island. PLA's naval and airforce can "paralyze" Taiwan's military command centers and combat capacity of its naval and air forces while Chinese spies in Taiwan could launch a "decapitation strike" to destroy political and economic infrastructure, it added.

Beijing is also striving to delay "foreign military intervention" in an attack on Taiwan through the deployment of mid-and long-range missiles and more exercises involving its aircraft carriers.

The report also mentions that China's "area-denial capabilities" will increase significantly when it completes its domestically developed Type 003 aircraft carrier, according to Taiwan News. 

However, the report assessed that China could suffer from insufficient vehicles and logistical support for a large-scale landing operation at this stage. 

The communist power could still put to use civilian ships to support a mass landing operation, the report added. The report comes barely a week after the PLA conducted a drill near the island of Taiwan. It had then put to use a large civilian cargo ferry to transport troops, weapons, and supplies.

The report also mentions that PLA's use of gray-zone tactics, such as sending military aircraft to harass Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and maritime militia to conduct operations in Taiwan's territorial waters, is wearing out Taiwan's combat capabilities. 

Spikes placed on the coast of Taiwan's Kinmen islands - located just 3.2 kms (two miles) from mainland China - to help prevent a military invasion Spikes placed on the coast of Taiwan's Kinmen islands - located just 3.2 kms (two miles) from mainland China - to help prevent a military invasion Photo: AFP / Sam Yeh