Wednesday, April 17, 2013

China yet to deploy 094 sub, JL-2 & DF-41 missiles

China's Type 094 Jin-Class submarine and the JL-2 ballistic missile to be installed on the nuclear-powered warship are still in development or undergoing tests, Taiwan's security and intelligence chief said Monday.

"Neither of them has been deployed at any Chinese military base yet," Tsai Teh-sheng, director-general of the National Security Bureau (NSB), said at a hearing of the Legislative Yuan's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Fielding questions from ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang about the latest developments in China's military buildup, Tsai said China has also not yet deployed the new-generation Dongfeng (DF)-41 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"All three of these new types of weapons are still being developed in China," Tsai said.

Given China's fast progress in military technology development, however, the possibility of China succeeding in producing and deploying the DF-41 mobile multi-warhead ICBM in the future is very high, Tsai said.

Based on past experience, Tsai said, China tends to experience difficulties in each stage of development when working on cutting-edge weapons or military equipment.

"Even though China's ability to resolve those problems or difficulties is now stronger than before, it does not necessarily mean that its indigenously developed weapons can initially live up to their designed functions," Tsai said.

He added that it would take time for China's new weapon systems to reach their performance targets.

Though talk turned to China's weapons capabilities, the committee hearing was mainly focused on the impact the volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula could have on Taiwan's economy and security.

Besides Tsai, Foreign Minister David Lin, Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang and several other defense officials were also present at the hearing.

Responding to Lin's question on whether the United States has asked Taiwan to adjust its military deployment amid Pyongyang's recent saber-rattling, Yang said the U.S. had not made such a request.

But he added that the two countries have exchanged intelligence on developments in North Korea.

Tsai pointed to the importance of that cooperation, saying that because North Korea is a closed and authoritarian country, no country can fully understand the situation there on its own.

"Regional cooperation is therefore very important. We have shared our intelligence with other countries and have also taken the initiative to ask for updated intelligence gathered by other countries," Tsai told lawmakers.

Tsai said that to his knowledge, the U.S., Japan and South Korea are all willing to give North Korea a way out following its recent bellicosity.

"They have had a hard time, however, finding a channel for dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un," Tsai said.

North Korea's unpredictability is closely related to its enigmatic leader, he said.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been simmering in recent weeks, with Pyongyang threatening to fire mid- and long-range missiles at Japan, South Korea and the U.S., but not yet acting on its threats.

Tsai said nobody knows at the moment whether North Korea will launch a missile or missiles or undertake a nuclear test in the coming days.

According to intelligence sources, Taiwan's national security authorities set up a special task force after the Yeonpyeong Island incident in November 2010. The task force remains in operation to date, the sources said.

In that incident, North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells onto a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea, killing two people, setting homes ablaze and triggering an exchange of fire as the South Korean military went on top alert.

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