Tourist hotspot transformed into missile launch pad as Taiwan counters Chinese military threat

Tourists visiting a popular scenic spot on Hengchun Peninsula in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County today were confronted with a large mobile missile unit deployed in the carpark, as Taiwan’s military responded to Chinese air and sea maneuvers around the island.

According to media reports, the anti-ship missiles were deployed at the location yesterday evening, April 9, and in the past have only been deployed on military bases and military training grounds.

The fact that the missiles are deployed in such a public location is testament to the unprecedented level of threat from the People’s Republic of China as the PLA encircles the island in an operation dubbed “United Sword.”

Naval mobile missile group on highway in southern Taiwan
Naval mobile missile group on a highway in southern Taiwan, April 8, 2023.

The naval mobile missile group was seen traveling on a highway in Pingtung County on April 8. It was reported that people passing them rolled down their windows to shout words of encouragement to the troops.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that the convoy was a naval deployment including anti-ship missiles, fire control vehicles, satellite communication units, communication relay vehicles, and other equipment.

The Ministry of National Defense said this morning that the Marine Corps completed the deployment, putting into position the Hsiung Feng anti-ship missiles, and that the units were on standby to track potential targets. The MND also announced that several naval FACG missile speedboats had left port to practice tactical movements and engagement procedures to strengthen emergency response and demonstrate combat readiness and rapid response and flexibility of naval officers and crew.

Kuang Hua VI missile boats – Fast Attack Craft, Guided missile (FACG) on maneuver. Picture: Military News Agency.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense has been monitoring operation of the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, which has been cruising in waters off Taiwan’s northeast, and southeast of Japan’s Okinawa prefecture. Japan’s MND observed 120 take-offs from the Shandong in the last three days.

A J-15 fighter jet takes off from the flight deck of China's aircraft carrier Shandong.
A J-15 fighter takes off from the flight deck of the PLA Navy aircraft carrier Shandong. Picture Ministry of National Defense, Japan.
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