Taiwanese military officials believe that naval mines could help deter Chinese invasion forces, specifically the Type 05 assault vehicle. Credit: National Interest.

If China is bent on invading Taiwan, then let it be “painful.”

At least, that’s Taiwan’s view of things, as it works with the US on strengthening its asymmetric warfare capabilities against Xi Jinping’s sabre rattling, Taiwan News reported.

Think cruise missiles and naval mines — all things to help deter an invasion by China’s military, said Taiwan’s Representative to the US, Hsiao Bi-khim.

During a video conference hosted by the Hudson Institute and Center for American Progress on Wednesday, Hsiao was asked to elaborate on Taiwan’s plans to develop its asymmetric capabilities, Taiwan News reported.

Hsiao responded by saying that the cornerstone of Taiwan’s defense is its asymmetric capabilities, which she defined as “cost-effective but lethal enough to become deterrents, to make any consideration of an invasion very painful.”

Asymmetric warfare is defined as war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly, Taiwan News reported.

Hsiao said that Taiwan is currently coordinating with the US on acquiring coastal defense cruise missiles that would be designed to complement Taiwan’s domestically built Hsiung Feng missile system.

Developed by Taiwan’s National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), the Hsiung Feng IIE has a similar design to the US Tomahawk long-range, subsonic cruise missile, Taiwan News reported.

She said the country’s military is also working on procuring underwater sea mines to better defend against amphibious landings.

What is Taiwan up against?

Like the United States Marine Corps, the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps also has an amphibious assault vehicle, the Type 05 — and it might even be superior to the Corps’ AAV in both speed and firepower.

Taiwan is planning to bolster its invasion defences by adding cruise missiles and naval mines, officials said. Credit: National Interest.

According to The National Interest, the PLA Marine Corps’ Type 05 amphibious fighting vehicle is a tracked, ship-to-shore armored vehicle designed for launching Chinese Marines onto austere beachheads from amphibious assault ships.

These expeditionary landing operations necessitate the Type 05 having a high speed while in the water — and it does.

Depending on the variant, the Type 05 has either a 105-millimeter gun, a 30-millimeter cannon or a 105-millimeter laser-guided anti-tank missile weapon.

Naval mines would take a toll on any invasion, but estimates of the PLA Marine Corps size varies, ranging from 12,000 to 30,000 strong — a considerable force.

The envoy then said that beyond hardware, the country needs to modernize its military, which includes strengthening its reserves, Taiwan News reported.

She said the reserves will not only be involved in humanitarian disaster relief but also strengthen their wartime capabilities as a “last resort defense in our homeland.”

Hsiao stated that another important part of Taiwan’s military restructuring is enhancing its cybersecurity and cyberwarfare capabilities. She said a critical aspect of this is the recruitment, training, and retention of “cybertalent.”

Lastly, the representative said that President Tsai Ing-wen is placing emphasis on modernizing military management, and she highlighted improvements in recruiting professional talent. Taiwan News reported.

She asserted that military careers have started to become “more attractive to talented people in our society.”

Meanwhile Taiwan’s defense spending in 2021 is set to grow 10.2% compared with this year, according to Reuters calculations from government figures released on Thursday, ramping up investment in the face of increased military pressure from China.

President Tsai’s cabinet proposed NT$453.4 billion (US$15.42 billion) in military spending for the year starting January, versus NT$411.3 billion budgeted for this year.