SPHERE OF INFLUENCE:The new destroyers are likely aimed at achieving Beijing’s long-term goal of projecting naval power at the Strait of Malacca, a DPP lawmaker said
Date: Jul 03, 2017
By: Aaron Tu and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer
The launch of China’s first Type 055 guided missile destroyer on Wednesday marks a significant
increase in the threat to Taiwan posed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), observers in Taiwan said.
At 10,000 tonnes, the destroyers have a large displacement and are believed to possess advanced air defenses, as well anti-submarine and cruise-missile capabilities, they said.
Although it is unlikely that the warships were developed to fight the Taiwanese military, they expose the nation’s east coast — which is studded with military bases — to missile strikes, they added.
The destroyers are to be the mainstay of the PLAN’s carrier escort fleets. The Soviet-built Liaoning is China’s sole operational carrier, as the PLAN has yet to declare its sister ship, which was launched in April, operational. [FULL STORY]