23 September 2010

China Improving ‘Area Denial’

William Lowther, China Improving ‘Area Denial’,” Taipei Times, 24 September 2010, p. 3.

A new report by a professor at the US Naval War College says Chinese military planners “covet the ability” to prevent US and allied forces from intervening effectively in the event of a Taiwan Strait crisis.

“The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] is improving rapidly in many areas, and has manifold advantages on which to draw, particularly in its proximity to, and focus on, the most likely scenario — a multi-vector PLA offensive to pressure Taiwan into reunification,” the report says.

Written by Andrew Erickson and just published by the Jamestown Foundation, the report says China is on the verge of achieving major breakthroughs with anti-ship ballistic missiles; streaming cruise missile attacks; precise and reliable satellites and space weapons.

The report claims such achievements could “radically improve” China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities by allowing it to dangerously threaten any ships or aircraft that enter “strategically vital zones” around the country.

Of greatest concern to Washington, the report says, is a solid propellant anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) with two stages and a reentry vehicle.

The sensors on this weapon may be able to find, and the warhead severely damage, an aircraft carrier. …