Taiwan ‘ready’ for warnings about threat from Chinese civilian ships: expert

Taipei, May 29 (CNA) China is preparing an armada of ferries and civilian ships to invade Taiwan, foreign experts have warned, but a Taiwan defense expert said the country is prepared to confront the threat.

In a May 26 article in the Daily Telegraph, experts said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) did not have the number of amphibious landing craft needed to launch a full-scale invasion of Taiwan, but that it could bridge the gap with civilian ships, including “gigantic rolling ships.” -ro-ro ferries that can each transport hundreds of armored vehicles.

China’s civilian ships could “significantly increase the tonnage of military hardware that can be moved by its existing military amphibious assault craft,” Tom Shugart, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, told the newspaper.

This could give it “the capacity to transport approximately 300,000 troops and their vehicles across the Taiwan Strait in about 10 days,” Shugart was quoted as saying.

Chieh Chung (揭仲), a researcher at the Taipei-based Strategic Foresight Association, acknowledged that the PLA lacks military ships to transport military assets and has regularly included large roll-on-roll-off ferries in its military exercises over the past year. ‘year. last four years.

He said each 36,000-ton ro-ro ship can transport the troops of about four PLA combined-arms battalions simultaneously, meaning two ro-ro ships could transport the troops of an entire PLA combined-arms brigade, which involves usually thousands of soldiers. .

Despite their large carrying capacity, these civilian ships are not designed to transport military goods such as military landing ships, as they need docking facilities when loading and unloading, Chieh said.

Therefore, in the event of an armed invasion of Taiwan, the first wave of PLA troops could only use military landing ships, military helicopters and military transport aircraft to land in Taiwan, according to Chieh.

Only after the first wave of PLA troops successfully lands in Taiwan and builds offloading facilities can these civilian ships begin transporting more troops to Taiwan, Chieh said.

Even when that happened, Taiwan’s long-range anti-ship missile systems and naval mines, as well as suicide boats, would be enough to destroy these relatively slow civilian transport ships, he said.

CNA also asked the Ministry of National Defense (MND) about the potential threat.

She said she was closely monitoring Chinese activities in Taiwan’s air and maritime space, including coordinated military-civilian landing operations during PLA exercises and the PLA’s requisition of ships. ro-ro civilians.

The MND continues to gather information and intelligence on the PLA’s “informal” landing and transport capabilities, and that such tactics are carefully assessed and prepared, he said, without further comment. details.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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