Taiwan to aim new missiles at China

Taiwan plans to develop surface-to-surface missiles capable of hitting rival China, a leading defence journal has said.

    Chen Shui-bien's re-election has sparked tension with China

    Tentative plans include the production of 30 mid-range (2,000 km) and 120 short-range (1,000 km) surface-to-surface missiles capable of striking mainland China,

    London-based Jane's Missiles and Rockets magazine said on Thursday.


    "These will be based on the Tien Kung surface-to-air missiles (SAM)," it said, citing a document obtained by Jane's.


    The missile development plan is part of Taiwan's missile procurement plans covering a 10-year period, it said.


    Six batteries


    Taiwan's defence ministry plans to procure six batteries of Patriot PAC-3 missile-defence systems within that timeframe.


    China has targeted Taiwan with at least 500 short-range ballistic missiles and is adding more at the rate of 75 a year, according to US officials.


    The Pentagon on Wednesday said Taiwan had requested the sale of two Ultra High Frequency long-range early warning radars capable of detecting ballistic and cruise missiles. It said they were worth nearly $1.8 billion.


    "These will be based on the Tien Kung surface-to-air missiles (SAM)"

    Jane's Missiles and Rockets magazine

    Pentagon officials said the announcement had no connection with China-Taiwan tensions in the wake of the re-election in Taipei of President Chen Shui-bien.


    Taiwan has deployed three batteries of PAC-II missiles to defend the densely populated greater Taipei area.


    Other missile-defence programmes include a plan to deploy 80 new-generation home-made Tien Kung 3 (Sky Bow) SAMs, Jane's said.


    Taiwan also intends to produce 500 land-attack cruise missiles with a range of 1,500 km based on its Hsiung Feng anti-ship missile, it said.


    China has threatened to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence, prompting Taiwan to seek more advanced weaponry.


    Beijing has regarded Taiwan as part of its territory waiting to be reunified by force if necessary since their split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.



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