Back to list

Talk of the Day -- Taiwan, China vie to develop EMP weapons

2011/07/20 20:15:33

A local daily reported Wednesday that both Taiwan and China are developing state-of-the-art electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons to ensure supremacy in that area in the event of a war across the Taiwan Strait.

Citing the newly released Ministry of National Defense (MND) 2011 National Defense Report, the China Times said Taiwan's military research institute has spent a great deal of time and energy developing non-nuclear EMP weapons under a project codenamed Hsuan Tien.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) in China has also spared no efforts in developing cutting-edge EMP weapons of its own, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, the United Daily News (UDN) reported that China used its new high-speed railway to transport troops for the first time July 16, a move indicating that China's bullet train network will become a major mode of transport for the PLA.

The following are excerpts from the local media coverage of these military development issues:

China Times: The MND revealed in its 2011 defense report that military researchers are developing several advanced weaponry systems, such as non-nuclear high-power EMP weapons, cruise missiles with long-distance precision strike capabilities and strategic unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The report, however, did not go into detail about relevant development projects. Some lawmakers cited unidentified military sources as saying that the MND-run Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) has been working on EMP technology for some considerable time.

At one point, some foreign media reports mistook Taiwan's top-secret Hsuan Tien development project for a nuclear weapons development plan.

Military experts said EMP-generation techniques have matured to the point where practical electromagnetic bombs (E-bombs) have become technically feasible, with new applications in both strategic and tactical information warfare. The development of conventional E-bomb devices allows their use in non-nuclear confrontations, the sources said.

According to a U.S. Pentagon assessment, the PLA would most likely use non-nuclear EMP bombs to paralyze Taiwan's military command and communication in its first wave of strikes. Consequently, the military has been reacting to simulated EMP attacks in its annual large-scale Han Kuang military drills for several years.

These simulated war games show that Taiwan's military command and communication system consistently sustain serious damage in such attacks, the sources said, adding that the military has stepped up its research and development of EMP technology to better protect its command and communciation networks. (July 20, 2011).

United Daily News:

The PLA Daily reported Tuesday that about 1,000 PLA soldiers were transported from Qingdao to Shanghai via the newly inaugurated Shanghai-Beijing high-speed railway July 16.

Moving the troops via the bullet train helped cut four hours from the time needed using conventional vehicles.

China has long been troubled by an inadequate air transport capacity, and the country's "four vertical, four horizontal" high-speed railway network will become a new option for troop movements in the future, according to military experts. (July 20, 2011).

Liberty Times:

Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang said Tuesday that although cross-strait relations have improved considerably in recent years, China has not lessened its military deployment against Taiwan.

"Taiwan still faces tremendous challenges and threats from China," Yang said at a news conference in which the 2011 National Defense Report was unveiled.

According to the defense report, the PLA could blockade Taiwan and seize its outlying islands by 2020. (July 20, 2011).

(By Sofia Wu)