China is likely to mobilize electromagnetic pulse weapons against the United States in any potential war over the Taiwan strait, according to a report prepared by F. Michael Maloof, a retired US defense department official.
Given the possibility that the United States Navy will deploy its aircraft carrier to the Western Pacific in the event of China entering into a territorial conflict with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines over the East and South China Sea or launching any potential military action against Taiwan, Maloof indicated that the People's Liberation Army is looking to use the electromagnetic pulse weapons as part of a "one-two punch" to knock out the defensive electronics aboard the US vessels.
The electromagnetic pulses could be released through the explosion of a nuclear weapon at altitude over the region China wants to target. The damage to the US vessels or allied command center in the region would include a complete loss of electronics, computers, automated systems, communications, food, utility and even transportation services. Maloof hit out at the Pentagon for ignoring the development of Chinese electromagnetic pulse weapons.
Quoting Lou Xiaoqing, the report indicated that electromagnetic pulses are likely to be used by the PLA as the primary means of incapacitating Taiwan and disabling American defenders nearby during any potential war to "liberate" Taiwan from the ruling Kuomintang regime. "Given that such a strategy was made public in an article entitled Electromagnetic Pulse Bombs are Chinese Ace, it is seen as reflecting the official Chinese government position", said the report.
To avoid damaging civilian and military equipment on the Chinese mainland, a nuclear bomb would likely to be detonated at an altitude of 18 miles from the ground. A report from the National Ground Intelligence Center also pointed out that the use of electromagnetic pulses against Taiwan at an altitude of 30-40 km would confine the effects of the electromagnetic pulses to Taiwan and its immediate vicinity and minimize damage to electronics on the mainland.