Lauren Moye, FISM News
Taiwan showcased their newest warship this weekend in a warning to China.
The newly commissioned warship Ta Chiang participated in exercises and drills with a second Taiwanese corvette in the Tuo Chiang-class on Friday. During rough sea conditions, both warships practiced tracking and firing simulations.
“The Ministry of National Defense today invited media reporters to the Keelung Naval Base to let the Chinese people understand the actual situation of the navy’s implementation of combat readiness during the Spring Festival,” tweeted the Military News Agency, ROC (Taiwan).
— 軍聞社 Military News Agency, ROC(Taiwan)🇹🇼 (@mna_roc) January 7, 2022
In addition to conducting maritime exercises, all weapons possessed by the “500-ton corvettes” were showcased in the display of deterrence. This includes 76mm cannons, close-in weapons systems, antiship missiles, and antiaircraft missiles. Both warships, referred to as “aircraft carrier killers,” were built by the Lung Teh Shipbuilding Company in Yilan County.
The corvettes can also be equipped with missile launchers for active warfare, although Taiwan does not feel this is necessary for “gray zone” patrols to prevent activity that undermines the nation’s security.
Recent aggression by China, who possessed the largest navy in the world at the end of 2020 with roughly 360 ships, has recently threatened to destabilize the region. The U.S. approved a defense budget increase that includes $7.1 billion to help deal with this potential threat back in December. China has recently conducted military exercises closer to the self-governing islands.
The Taiwanese parliament voted in 2011 to commission up to 12 new warships to act as a deterrent to China with a price-tag of around $850 million (USD). Although the Taiwanese people view themselves as independent, the multi-island nation is also claimed by Beijing as part of China. Taiwan sits around 100 miles from China’s mainland and is not formally recognized by enough nations to be considered a sovereign country.
Earlier in January, Colonel Sun Li-Fang from the Taiwanese Army Command’s Political Warfare Bureau said, “We want the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) [of China] to think twice before it acts.”
The new corvettes have been described by a Taiwanese defense analyst as “mobile, stealthy, fast, and powerful.”
Taiwan also showcased a new minelaying system they’ve designed on Friday. The system will be used on new Min Jiang-class vessels which are smaller boats designed for fast and accurate minelaying operations.
“The new fast minelaying boats can greatly prevent the enemy’s beach-landing operations and become a reliable combat force for Taiwan’s multi-domain deterrence,” Qi Leyi, a military analyst for Radio Free Asia, explained.
The technology will be important for Taiwan who cannot compete with the sheer numbers of China’s naval fleet.
Despite the unofficial sovereignty of Taiwan, the U.S. remains friendly to the islands. Last November, a small group of House Representatives angered China after meeting with Taiwanese leaders.