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September 21, 2017

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China currently incapable of launching full attack on Taiwan proper: MND

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- China's military is capable of seizing Taiwan-held islands near the mainland and taking over islets in the disputed South China Sea area, but cannot yet launch a full scale attack on Taiwan proper, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Monday.

In a report on China's military might in 2014 and another report on Taiwan's military overhaul plan for the next five years, the MND said that any move by China against Taiwan at this time could include military intimidation, blockade or military strikes.

With the use of electromagnetic, air and sea warfare, China could paralyze most of Taiwan's combat ability and seek to land on the island for a quick decisive occupation, the ministry said.

It said, however, that China does not have enough military vessels to transport its amphibious forces and is therefore incapable of launching a full-scale attack on the main island of Taiwan.

But if China eventually gains the capability to seize and occupy Taiwan proper, the possibility of a direct attack on the island cannot be ruled out, the ministry said.

According to the report on China's military, the country's expenditure on national defense and modernization of its military this year is about 808.2 billion yuan (US$131.56 billion), the highest of any state in Asia.

The amount represents a sharp increase from the 220 billion yuan allocated in 2004 and an increase of 12.2 percent from last year, it said.

In comparison, the MND noted, Taiwan's military expenditure for 2015 was put at NT$319.3 billion (US$10.69 billion).

As of the end of last year, China had a 2.28 million strong military, while its armed police force had 680,000 personnel, the report stated.

Taiwan, meanwhile, is aiming to trim its armed forces to 215,000 by the end of this year, the report noted.

Defense Minister Yen Ming said recently that a planned program to further trim the country's military personnel to below 200,000 by the end of 2019 will be formally implemented next year.

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