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Taiwan Should Focus on Smaller, Mobile Precision Weapons: Former Military Chief

The Taiwanese government should invest more in mobile precision weapons if it wants to effectively deter an initial Chinese attack during a potential invasion, a former military chief has suggested.

Lee Hsi-Min, who served as chief of the General Staff of the Taiwanese armed forces until 2019, recently told Nikkei Asia that it would most likely take two to three weeks for American forces to reach the island nation in case Beijing launches an attack.

Because of that, he said there is a high probability that the Chinese military would try to seize its small neighbor quickly before its allies can get involved.

And even if Washington were able to deploy its nearest assets, including an aircraft carrier stationed in Japan and forces patrolling Guam and Hawaii, the former military chief claimed they would likely not be enough.

This would leave Taiwan with only one option: handle the initial Chinese attack on its own.

Having more warships, tanks, and combat jets would only provide China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with more potential targets for its first strikes, according to Lee.

He suggested building up an arsenal of smaller precision weapons, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, drones, and small vessels.

Investments Underway

Institute for National Defense and Security Research official Su Tzu-Yun revealed that Lee’s suggestion has already received an unfavorable reaction within Taiwan’s defense ministry.

He said mobile weaponry should only make up around 40 percent – not a majority – of the country’s defensive capabilities.

Investments in mobile precision weapons are also underway, with the island nation taking delivery of the first batch of FIM-92 Stinger missiles from the US earlier this year.

The country is also set to receive 200 Javelin anti-tank weapons later this year and another 200 “at some point in 2024.”

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