Taiwan: Taiwan test-fires Missiles that could reach China
Taiwan has developed and test-fired surface-to-surface missiles that could target cities in coastal and interior China, military sources have told the Liberty Times newspaper. The newspaper report said that the missiles, called Hsiung-feng 2A and Hsiung-feng 2E, could reach targets at ranges of between 150 and 300 kilometers.
The new weapons are similar to cruise missiles, which can be programmed to seek out and hit land targets, the report read. “The military has conducted secret test-firings of these missiles, and the result has been satisfactory,” the newspaper said. The military did not give the exact number and locations of the deployed missiles. The newspaper reported that if the new missiles were fired from a ship located in the middle of the 180-kilometer wide Taiwan Strait, they could reach cities in China.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has refused to comment on the report. Taiwan has developed shorter-range missiles and purchased US-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles in the past. The test-firing of missiles by Taiwan comes on the heels of a cruise missile test by China, which sparked off fresh fears of conflict in Taiwan. The land attack cruise missile (LACM) developed by China will have a range of 1’500km, London-based Jane’s Missiles and Rockets magazine said in an article.
The missile is called Dong Hai-10, or East China Sea-10. It is likely to be accurate to within 10 meter, the magazine said, quoting US defense sources. The development of the missiles is a sensitive issue because Taiwan has pledged to buy and make only defensive weapons. But politicians in Taipei have increasingly proposed making offensive weapons as well, on the assumption that the best deterrent to war would be the capability to launch an attack.
The Taiwanese cabinet has approved plans to spend NT$610 billion (US$18.2 billion) on weaponry - including eight US-built submarines, Patriot PAC-3 air defense systems, and submarine-hunting P-3C aircraft - over a 15-year period starting next year. The deal will go to parliament for approval towards the end of the year. The plan to purchase 388 "Patriot" missiles, eight submarines, 12 anti-submarine planes, and other weapons from the US was unveiled on 2 June.
The government plans to raise the money by selling stocks, land, and bonds. It faces stiff popular opposition for its plans to purchase weapons from the US. Tens of thousands of people rallied on the streets of the capital Seoul on Saturday, protesting against the plan. Braving heavy rains, demonstrators chanted “No to weapons, Save Taiwan.” The rally was organized by Democracy Action Alliance, a non-governmental organization.