Taipei: Taiwan is developing a potent
missile system that can strike airfields and harbours on the
mainland, in a bid to nip a Chinese invasion in the bud, local
media said on Tuesday.
The "Wan Chien" or "Ten Thousand Swords" missile
system, which so far has cost nearly three billion Taiwan
dollars (USD 97 million), passed an initial operating test
earlier this year, said Defence Technology Monthly.
Each missile carries more than 100 cluster bomb
warheads, capable of blowing dozens of small craters in
airport runways, making them impossible to use, the magazine
The missile is also designed to target harbours,
missile and radar bases, as well as troop build-up areas prior
to an invasion of the island, the magazine said.
The defence ministry is planning to invest 15 billion
Taiwan dollars in 2011 and 2012 to equip its Indigenous
Defence Fighters (IDFs) with the new system, it said.
The system could go into mass production after it is
integrated with the IDF jets, to reduce the risks of having to
send Taiwanese jets to the mainland, as it can aim at Chinese
targets from a distance, it added.
Military pundit Lin Yu-fang, a lawmaker of the ruling
Kuomintang (KMT) party, told AFP that there had been "some
progress" in the "Wan Chien" project but he declined to
Taiwanese experts estimate the People`s Liberation
Army currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the
Ties between Taiwan and its giant neighbour have
improved markedly since the Beijing-friendly KMT took office
in Taipei in 2008.
But China still considers the island part of its
territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary,
prompting Taipei to seek more advanced defence weaponry mainly
from the United States.
Washington announced in January, a weapons package for
Taiwan that includes Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters,
and equipment for Taiwan`s F-16 fighter jets, but no
submarines or new fighter aircraft.
A defence spokesman was not immediately available for