Reuters: China's Taiwan military drills offer spying opportunity for US

    WORLD  13 August 2022 - 07:31

    While China's expanded drills surrounding Taiwan have marked an unprecedented military and political warning against outside interference over the island, they opened a window to gather intelligence for the United States and its allies.

    The four days of intense drills last week - and extended manoeuvres this week - provide an opportunity to scrutinise the missiles China would use to drive off foreign militaries intervening in any future invasion as well as its command, control and communications systems, regional diplomats and security analysts say, according to Reuters

    And on the strategic intelligence front, the exercises have given a clue to China's ability to blockade the island as a prelude or alternative to any invasion, showcasing the firing of ballistic missiles over Taiwan for the first time as well as simulated air and sea attacks on ships on its east coast.

    While acknowledging ongoing data gathering, two U.S. military officials have cautioned that the drills are unlikely to offer the type of in-depth intelligence opportunity provided by other manoeuvres beyond the headlines.

    China is unlikely to display its best tactics and strategies during drills that it knows are being watched closely, said one of the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The officials said that most of the systems and missiles used by China appear to be known to the United States and allies, so it was unclear how much more could be gleaned on their capabilities over the past few weeks.

    Singapore-based security analyst Collin Koh said rather than weaponry, the drills offered a prime chance to monitor key Chinese elements - China's reformed Eastern Theatre Command, its Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force - operating together in a fully coordinated and integrated way.

    "I fully expect the U.S. to be collecting from a full spectrum - signals, communications and electronic intelligence - it is just a too good opportunity to miss."

    "When you collect this kind of data from the other side, it means you can figure out where the vulnerabilities are, and it helps you create your own counter and jamming systems," Koh told Reuters.


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