As per South China Morning Post, 16 of the DF-17s were on parade on the October 1 National Day celebrations. Zhou Chenming, a Beijing based military expert said the DF-17 had extended China’s range and gave China the ability to prevent the US aircraft carrier strike group from intervening. Mr Zhou said: “The DF-17 is designed as an offensive weapon amid Beijing’s defensive strategy to build a fence outside the Taiwan Strait to stop US warships from entering and intervening in any possible war between the PLA and the Taiwanese military.”
A military insider explained: “The DF-17 is an innovative and cost-saving weapon based on the basics of DF-15 and DF-16 ballistic missiles that were being developed to cope with the independence-leaning movements driven by Chen Shui-bian.”
Mr Chen was the first Taiwanese President from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party ending 55 years of rule from the Kuomintang (KMT).
The KMT formally ruled China until losing to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the Chinese Civil War.
The group fled to Taiwan which they declared was still the Republic of China (ROC) which they say is the legal government of China.
The CCP founded the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which they also claim is the legal government of China.
Taiwanese politics is split into two loose camps – pan-green which includes the the Democratic Progressives who favour independence and pan-blues who favour unification.
Tsai Ing-wen is the current President in Taipei and believes the island’s de facto independence means a formal declaration of independence, which would cross a red line for the PRC, is unnecessary.
The insider added: “The successful development of the DF-17 will also inspire the People’s Liberation Army to add the HGV technology to other DF series missiles, because China has tested so many kinds of HGV over the past few years.”
Hong Kong based Song Zhongpin, a military expert said the DF-17 was capable of damaging US shields throughout the entire region: “All the DF-15, DF-16 and DF-17s could build a comprehensive strike network covering everywhere from Taiwan island to the neighbouring countries around mainland China, especially the US’s overseas military bases in the region.
“The superiority of the DF-17 is its hypersonic warhead which could penetrate missile defence networks, radar and early-warning systems, and hit some difficult targets that the DF-15 and DF-16 might be unable to do.”
The US and Russia are developing hypersonic technologies but so far China is the only nation able to produce an active weapon.
Chinese scientists have created a ceramic metal composite that can withstand temperatures of 3000C (5430F).
The US initially recognised the ROC and not the PRC.
The Chinese-Soviet split and Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms led to Washington shifting recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
Afterwards, relations between the US and Taiwan became unofficial.
Commercial ties between the two have been maintained since the shift of recognition.
Both the US and Taiwan have representation in the other, through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States and American Institute in Taiwan.
The ROC is officially recognised by 14 UN member states plus the Holy See, an observer state.
None of these members are in Europe or Asia.
However, 16 Asian states (plus Hong Kong and Macau) and 19 European states including the UK have unofficial relations with Taipei.
This year has seen Kiribati and the Solomon Islands switch recognition from the ROC to PRC.