Taiwan Warns China That Its Domestically Produced Cruise Missiles Can Strike Beijing

Marine Corps / Public Domain

In a not-so-subtle message to China’s increasingly belligerent communist leaders, the head of Taiwan’s Legislative Assembly, You Si Kun, warned China that its domestically produced Yun Feng (Cloud Peak) supersonic cruise missile is able to reach Beijing.

The warning came after China provocatively claimed ownership over the Taiwan Strait yesterday. On Monday, Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said ‘China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait.’

‘It is a false claim when certain countries call the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters’ in order to find a pretext for manipulating issues related to Taiwan and threatening China’s sovereignty and security,’ he added.

The U.S. and most of the world view the Strait as international waters. In recent years U.S. and other Western warships have sailed through the strait, raising Beijing’s ire. The Navy calls its operations in contested waters Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS).

The response from Taiwan is noted below:

The warning from Taiwan follows President Biden’s confused messaging on whether the U.S. will defend Taiwan fully in case of a Communist Chinese invasion.

While it is doubtful U.S. or Western navies will reduce FONOPS anytime soon, the next one may be a bit more intense than the last.

Taiwan’s Yun Feng missile has been in development a long time.

As the Drive notes:

Taiwan is reported to have begun discreetly developing the Yun Feng missile after the 1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, which started after a series of missile tests were conducted by the People’s Republic of China. The goal of the tests was to send a message to the Republic of China (Taiwan) government headed by Lee Teng-hui whose strategy was beginning to shift away from the One-China policy, and the efforts were largely successful in agitating both Taiwan and the United States. In response, U.S. President Bill Clinton deployed a carrier battle group to the scene and a crisis was averted. 

The Drive adds:

In an effort to avoid public scrutiny, Yun Feng’s flight tests were concealed by the test program for the Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missile and successfully avoided major media coverage until December 2012. Because much of its origin is shrouded in secrecy, the supersonic Yun Feng’s exact specifications vary between sources.

The original missile, declared operational in 2014, was believed to have a range of 600 miles. However, the missile has reportedly been modified since 2018 and now has an extended range of 1,200 miles, which could successfully strike Beijing, approximately 1,150 miles from Taiwan.

Taiwan announced the test firing of this extended-range missile in 2020.

While these missiles can’t stop or seriously degrade China’s ability to invade Taiwan, the Yun Feng could provide the island nation with the ability to carry out potentially high-profile strikes against a variety of soft, high-value or symbolic targets in China, and critical infrastructure, like the Three Gorges Dam or nuclear plants.

These strikes could have devastating secondary effects.

The Yun Fengs also provide Taiwan the morale boost it needs to better prepare for the war to come and remind China that Taiwan can strike their capital, even in a limited way. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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