The China Post staff
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday confirmed a Washington Times report that mainland China has completed a new missile base in its southeastern coastal province of Fujian opposite Taiwan. An MND official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the military has full information about mainland China’s missile development and deployment. From the viewpoint of the military, the official said, the completion of the new missile base will inevitably increase the threat to Taiwan of a mainland missile attack. The report of the new mainland missile base is also expected to have a psychological impact on local society, particularly the already highly volatile domestic stock market, economic analysts said. The Washington Times said in a front-page article in its Thursday issue that a U.S. spy satellite had detected the newly completed mainland missile base in the past two weeks. The missile base, detected in spy-satellite photographs, is located several miles northeast of Xianyou and some 135 miles from Taiwan, the paper said, adding that nearly 100 CSS-7 Please see MISSILE on page
(also known as Dongfeng 11) short-range ballistic missiles and mobile launchers are deployed there. The base is the second short-range missile base for CSS-7s in Fujian province, the paper quoted U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports as saying. The first, near Yongan, was completed last year. According to the paper, there is still another missile base farther north. It is at Leping, a regional headquarters for all missile forces that harbors up to 100 CSS-6 missiles (Dongfeng 15), the paper said. According to the paper, U.S. intelligence agencies tracked a train loaded with missiles and launchers from a factory in central mainland China to the newly completed Xianyou missile base earlier this month. A second trainload of the missiles, along with the transporter erector-launchers, was set to leave the factory last week, the paper said, quoting an unnamed U.S. official. The missiles are believed to be stored inside underground bunkers designed to protect the weaponry from U.S. precision-guided missile strikes, the paper said. Disclosure of the newly finished missile base comes as the Bush administration is debating whether to provide Taiwan with advanced weaponry that would include advanced Patriot missile defenses, four Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyers and four Kidd-class destroyers. A decision on the arms sales is expected next month. Discovery of the new base also coincides with the visit this week to mainland China by Adm. Dennis Blair, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. During his four-day visit, Adm. Blair will discuss Taiwan issues with Chinese military leaders and visit Fujian province, home of the newly finished base. Mainland Chinese Vice Prime Minister Qian Qichen, set to visit Washington next week, is expected to lobby against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan among other issues. The Washington Times quoted a senior U.S. military officer as saying that mainland China’s massing of short-range missiles is increasing instability across the Taiwan Strait and justifying future sales of U.S. missile defenses to Taiwan. The senior official said the mainland Chinese “keep on building” the missile forces, and now there are between 200 and 300 CSS-7 and CSS-6 missiles opposite Taiwan.