Taiwan drops plan to develop missile that can hit China: report

September 1st, 2008 - 10:55 am ICT by IANS  

Taipei, Sep 1 (DPA) Taiwan has dropped plans to develop cruise missiles that can reach China, in a move seen as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to seek peace with China, a newspaper reported Monday.The United Daily News quoted an unnamed military official as saying that Taipei has dropped plans to develop cruise missiles that have a range of 1,000 km.

Since Ma Ying-jeou from the China-friendly Chinese Nationalist Party took office May 20, he has been promoting greater exchanges with China to ease cross-Strait tension.

Ma has declared that Taiwan wants to seek peace with China but must also strengthen its self-defence and must buy advanced weapons from the US for the sake of national security.

The government made the decision to drop the longer-range missiles after the National Security Council and the Defence Ministry reached the consensus that Taiwan should focus on self-defence rather than develop attack weapons, the official said.

He said that Taiwan will go ahead with plans to mass-produce the Hsiung Feng 2 (Brave Wind 2, or HF-2) cruise missile, which have ranges from 600 km to 800 km. Small numbers of the 600-km-version have already been deployed, and more are slated for production.

The 800-km version has been test fired but was not yet ready for mass production.

Taiwan originally planned to extend the range of HF-2 to more than 1,000 km with capability of striking Shanghai or Hong Kong should China attack Taiwan first.

The HF-2 was developed by the military’s Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to boost Taiwan’s defence against China, which has threatened to recover Taiwan by force if Taipei declares independence of indefinitely delays unification with China.

In recent years, China has deployed some 1,300 missiles on its coast facing Taiwan.

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