Tsai Ing-wen and Xi Jinping Photograph:( Reuters )
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have deteriorated since Tsai ing-wen from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected as president in 2016 and refused to accept the one-China principle
The Chinese military is stepping up the militarisation of its southeast coast as it prepares for a possible invasion of Taiwan.
According to an article published in the Hong Kong-based newspaper, The South China Morning Post, the People’s Liberation Army has been upgrading its missile bases, and one Beijing-based military source said it has deployed its most advanced hypersonic missile the DF-17 to the area.
“The DF-17 hypersonic missile will gradually replace the old DF-11s and DF-15s that were deployed in the southeast region for decades,” the source, who requested anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the topic. “the new missile has a longer range and is able to hit targets more accurately.”
The DF-17, which has a maximum range of 2,500km (1,550 miles), made its first public appearance on last year’s October 1 national day parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province which it has vowed to take back, by force if necessary. Relations between Beijing and Taipei have deteriorated since Tsai ing-wen from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected as president in 2016 and refused to accept the one-China principle.
The deployment of missiles on the coasts of Fujian and Zhejiang provinces previously peaked during the presidency of Tsai's DPP predecessor Chen Shui-ban.
Ties have come under further strain this year as Taipei moved closer to the united states and signed a series of arms deals, including for patriot missiles and an upgrade to its f-16 viper jets.
Satellite images show that both the marine corps and rocket force bases in Fujian and Guangdong provinces have expanded in recent years, according to Andrei chang, editor-in-chief of the Canada-based Kanwa defense review.
“Every rocket force brigade in Fujian and Guangdong is now fully equipped,” he said.
“The size of some of the missile bases in the eastern and southern theatre commands have even doubled in recent years, showing the PLA is stepping up preparations for a war targeting Taiwan.”