For the first time ever, Taiwanese officials confirmed this week the Taiwanese military is developing a supersonic land-attack cruise missile potentially capable of reaching the Chinese capital city of Beijing.
Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng mentioned the missile, known as Yun Feng or “Cloud Peak,” during a joint meeting of Foreign and National Defense Committee and Finance Committees of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan on Wednesday, the Taipei Times reported. According to the Taiwanese outlet, it was the first public confirmation of the missile’s development.
The Yun Feng missile is believed to have begun development in the 1990s and is designed to strike land-based targets inside China.
During the legislative meeting, Chiu said the Taiwanese military is “working on it” but declined to provide additional details about the progress of the missile’s development or its exact capabilities.
According to the Center for International Studies (CSIS), standard variants of the Yun Feng missile are believed to have a range of about 1,200 km (745.6 miles) but an extended-range variant of the missile may have a range of about 2,000 km (1242.7 miles). 1,200 km of range would put vast portions of the Chinese mainland within range of a missile launch from Taiwan, but the Yun Feng would need to travel about 1,800 km (1118.5 miles) to reach Beijing.
Chiu’s revelation about the development of the Yun Feng missile comes just days after the Chinese military sent three increasing record-breaking military flights into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), prompting the Taiwanese military to issue radar warnings, activate missile defenses and deploy its own aircraft to warn off the Chinese warplanes.
While Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, China claims the island is part of its sovereign territory and has repeatedly threatened to crush “Taiwanese Independence” efforts. In recent months, China has also practiced amphibious military landings like the kind that will likely be needed to invade the island.
In response to U.S. condemnations of its growing aerial campaign around Taiwan, China said “Taiwan belongs to China and the US is in no position to make irresponsible remarks” and said the U.S. should “earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues, stop supporting and emboldening separatist forces of ‘Taiwan independence,’ and take concrete actions to safeguard rather than undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
A weapon like Yun Feng, capable of reaching large portions of China, including Beijing, could serve as a deterrent against Chinese attacks.
On Monday, as China sent 52 warplanes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said his country is prepared to fight back if China attacks. “If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment.”
Taiwan News reported on Wednesday Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said, “I am warning the Beijing authorities to be sure to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could spark a fire.”