- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2001

A U.S. spy satellite detected a newly completed Chinese missile base opposite Taiwan in the past two weeks, The Washington Times has learned.
The base is located where China has placed its newest short-range missiles, which target the island, U.S. intelligence officials say.
The missile base, detected in spy-satellite photographs, is located several miles northeast of Xianyou and some 135 miles from Taiwan. Nearly 100 CSS-7 short-range ballistic missiles and mobile launchers are deployed there.
The base is the second short-range missile base for CSS-7s, said officials familiar with intelligence reports of the discovery.
"It gives them two facilities with sevens [CSS-7s] that are within range of Taiwan," a senior administration official said.
Disclosure of the finished missile base comes as the Bush administration is debating whether to provide Taiwan with advanced weaponry that would include advanced Patriot missile defenses, four Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyers and four Kidd-class destroyers. A decision on the arms sales is expected next month.
Discovery of the new base coincides with the visit this week to China by Adm. Dennis Blair, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. During his four-day visit, Adm. Blair will discuss Taiwan issues with Chinese military leaders and visit Nanjing province, home of the newly finished base.
Chinese Vice Prime Minister Qian Qichen, set to visit Washington next week, is expected to lobby against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan among other issues.
White House spokeswoman Mary Ellen Countryman would not say whether President Bush will discuss the Chinese missile buildup with Mr. Qian.
"Our discussions will cover a range of bilateral, regional and global issues," she said.
U.S. intelligence agencies tracked a train loaded with missiles and launchers from a factory in central China to the base, said the officials, who spoke to The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity.
A second trainload of the missiles, along with the transporter erector-launchers, was set to leave the factory last week, they said.
The missiles are believed to be stored inside underground bunkers designed to protect the weaponry from U.S. precision-guided missile strikes. Construction of the bases was first reported by The Times in November 1999.
The CSS-7 base near Xianyou is the second for new short-range missiles. The first, near Yongan, was completed last year. There is still another missile base farther north. It is at Leping, a regional headquarters for all missile forces that harbors up to 100 CSS-6 missiles.
In a recent interview, a senior military officer said the massing of short-range missiles is increasing instability across the Taiwan Strait and justifying future sales of U.S. missile defenses to Taiwan.
The senior official said the Chinese "keep on building" the missile forces, and now there are between 200 and 300 CSS-7 and CSS-6 missiles opposite Taiwan.
If the buildup continues, the official said, "we're going to make theater missile systems available to the Taiwanese."
A Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, declined to comment on the new missile base, citing a policy of not discussing intelligence matters.
However, he said the Pentagon closely monitors Chinese military developments.
"It is no secret that China is modernizing and improving its military capability and a lot of that includes capabilities for reaching out to Taiwan," Adm. Quigley said.
"This is something we watch very carefully and it is an element that goes into the decision-making process of meeting the legitimate defense needs of Taiwan," he added.
The missile buildup is part of China's effort to intimidate Taiwan "or attack Taiwan, if necessary," said Richard Fisher, a military analyst with the Jamestown Foundation.
"We can also expect to see additional CSS-7 missiles in the Nanjing region and in the very near future, new classes of land-attack cruise missiles will be deployed," said Mr. Fisher, who is writing a book on China's military.
Mr. Fisher said it is "imperative" that Mr. Bush raise the issue of missile deployments when he meets with Mr. Qian next week.
"He should be told that this type of action will guarantee the deployment of missile defenses in East Asia and guarantee their sale to our friends and allies," Mr. Fisher said.
Larry Wortzel, a former U.S. military attache in Beijing, said the short-range Chinese missiles are part of an "in-depth offensive capability against Taiwan that is meant to degrade Taiwan's air and ground defense capabilities."
The missile buildup provides the basis to sell Taiwan the Patriot PAC-3 missile-defense system, Kidd-class warships and eventually Aegis-equipped guided missile ships, Mr. Wortzel said.


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