by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Aug 22, 2011
Taiwan plans to develop a long-distance precision-guided missile which would be able to strike military bases along China’s southeastern coastline in the event of war, a legislator said Monday.
Taiwan’s defence ministry has budgeted Tw$30 million ($1.04 million) for developments including the design of the missile bases and safety systems, said Lin Yu-fang, a lawmaker who sits on the national defence committee.
But Lin, of the ruling Kuomintang party, said there were still only a few details available on the new weapon.
Taiwan’s defence ministry declined to comment on his remarks.
Lin said the missile, along with several other home-made weapons systems such as the Hsiungfeng (Brave Wind) 2E cruise missile, would be used as an effective deterrent should China launch military action against the island.
"In case of war, Taiwan would be able to use the weapon to strike the air-defence and ballistic missile bases deployed along China’s southeastern coastline," he said.
"This could be done without sending jet fighters near the mainland targets, and avoid risking the pilots’ lives."
Tensions between Taipei and Beijing have eased markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008 on a platform of beefing up trade links and allowing in more Chinese tourists.
But Beijing still refuses to renounce the possible use of force against Taiwan even though the island has ruled itself since the end of a civil war in 1949.
And the continued uncertainty has prompted Taiwan to seek more advanced weaponry.
In its national defence report released in July, published every other year, Taiwan’s defence ministry noted mounting endeavours by China to boost its already impressive military capabilities.