Defending Taiwan: US to build a ‘missile wall’ against China

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The United States is advancing its plans to deploy long-range land-based missiles in the Pacific as a countermeasure against a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan. This development, which could lead to a conventional missile arms race in the region, was confirmed by General Charles Flynn, Commander of US Army Forces Pacific, at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia.
According to Defense One, the deployment, set for 2024, includes Tomahawk and SM-6 missiles and is enabled by the US’s exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 2019.
“We have tested them and we have a battery or two of them today,” Defense One quoted Flynn saying at the event. “In [20]24. We intend to deploy that system in your region. I’m not going to say where and when. But I will just say that we will deploy them.”
General Flynn highlighted the rapid growth of China’s military capabilities, posing threats to regional and global stability. He outlined various factors influencing Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s strategic decisions, including economic sanctions, efforts to undermine US alliances in Asia, the readiness of China’s military, and the effectiveness of its information and influence operations.
This strategic shift in the Pacific reflects the US’s growing concerns over China’s military expansion and assertive actions in the region. It’s part of a broader geopolitical strategy aimed at maintaining stability and preventing conflicts in the Indo-Pacific.
The US’s missile projects in the Pacific are geared towards creating a “missile wall” across the First Island Chain, which includes Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines, to deter China. Recent developments include the US Marine Corps’ unveiling of the Long-Range Fires Launcher and the acquisition of the Typhon land-based missile launcher by the US Army. These systems are designed to enhance mobility and fill gaps in the US’s long-range missile capabilities.
However, the willingness of US allies in the region to participate in this “missile wall” strategy remains uncertain. Countries like Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Australia, and Japan have various reasons for potential reluctance, ranging from political ties with China to geographical and policy constraints, the Asia Times report said.
Japan emerges as the most viable partner for hosting US missiles, given its ongoing shift in defense policy and efforts to build long-range counterstrike capabilities. Despite challenges in developing its indigenous missile arsenal, Japan may rely on US-supplied missiles in the interim.
Concurrently, China is expanding its conventional missile arsenal, transforming its missile forces into a diverse array of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. This includes intermediate and medium-range ballistic missiles capable of striking key US military bases and ships, reflecting China’s strategy of deterrence and warfighting with a focus on precision strikes and anti-access/area denial capabilities.

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