Taiwan to deploy cruise missiles: Lawmaker

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 15:44

Taipei: Taiwan plans to deploy its own
cruise missiles by the end of this year, a lawmaker and
military pundit said on Tuesday, reflecting continued tension with
China despite warming ties.

Taiwan began mass producing the Hsiungfeng 2E cruise
missiles after it acquired "key components" needed to
manufacture the missiles, and will start deploying them this
year, lawmaker Lin Yu-fang told AFP.
Lin, a member of the ruling Kuomintang party, declined to
specify the range of the missiles or the number to be put into
service.

President Ma Ying-jeou gave an order in 2008 for the
production of 300 Hsiungfeng 2E cruise missiles, according to
the Taipei-based China Times.

The paper said Hsiungfeng 2E, which was developed by the
military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology,
has a range of around 800 kilometres (500 miles).

The institute has spent 2.2 billion Taiwan dollars (68
million US) each year since 2000 on developing the missiles,
whose name means Brave Wind, and managed to expand its range
from 600 to 800 kilometres, it said.
The missile could be launched on land or at sea, the
paper said, adding that it would be capable of hitting
airports and missile bases in southeast China, as well as
cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong.

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since the
end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing views the island as
part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if
necessary.

The Pentagon said in an annual report to Congress earlier
this month that China`s military build-up against Taiwan has
"continued unabated" despite improving political relations.

China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should
the island declare formal independence.

However, tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased
since Ma took office on a Beijing-friendly platform.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 15:44

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