China Threatens Taiwan by Building 40,000-ton Landing Helicopter DockPosted: April 1, 2017
According to Minnie Chan’s report “China building navy’s biggest amphibious assault vessel, sources say” on SCMP March 30, China is building its Type 075 largest landing helicopter Dock (LHD), much bigger than its four existing Type 071 landing platform docks (LPDs). SCMP gives the above table of the ship’s details.
China does not have the capabilities to send its navy to contend with US navy. Even its Liaoning and first homegrown aircraft carrier under construction cannot carry fixed-wing AEW&Cs for blue sea operation. Therefore, the new LHD can only be used within the range of China’s land-based AEW&Cs.
Some analysts believe that the LHD will be used in dealing with the disputes in East and South China Seas, but the islands and reefs claimed by China but occupied by its neighbors are very small so that there is no need for such large amphibious attack vessel, not even China’s existing 4 LPDs. The disputes over the Diaoyus (known as Senkakus in Japan) need not be solved by landing vessels as the islands are but barren rocks. What worth contending for are the rich fish and energy resources in the sea area around the islands; therefore, China need navy warships instead of landing vessels for the disputes there.
Therefore, the LHD may only be used in taking Taiwan by force. The construction of such large amphibious attack vessel alone will bring pressure on Taiwan, scare away capital and talents that Taiwan urgently needs in improving its economy.
In this way, China will be able to take Taiwan gradually without fighting a war.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2083109/china-building-navys-biggest-amphibious-assault-vessel.