Patriot missiles stationed on Taiwan east coast

New move is a response to evolving Chinese military strategy

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Taiwan's Patriot PAC-3 missiles.

Taiwan's Patriot PAC-3 missiles. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Patriot missiles have been stationed on Taiwan’s east coast in a response to China’s changing military strategy, the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday.

It was the first time Taiwan’s military acknowledged that it had stationed the missiles in the sparsely populated counties of Hualien and Taitung. Until now, Patriot PAC-3 batteries had been believed to be located close to the populous cities of Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. The upgraded projectiles can intercept incoming aircraft and missiles.

In a report he was scheduled to present to the Legislative Yuan on Thursday, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan said the military needed to become more flexible in order to respond to China’s modernization strategies and upgraded weapons systems.

Over the past few years, Beijing has taken an aggressive stance in the South China Sea, underlining its claims over uninhabited islands with numerous military drills, including the passage of its aircraft carrier Liaoning east of Taiwan and west through the Taiwan Straits.

A key missile defense command was being transferred to resort under the Air Force Command in order to provide a more effective and general air defense structure, according to media quoting from the minister’s document.

Profiting from the country’s progress in the technological field, future Taiwanese military drills and simulations would add the use of virtual reality and augmented reality, the defense minister’s report said.

Since January, the military has also made a concerted effort to strengthen the safety of its data and to train more staff in information warfare and security, given that Taiwan was a prime target for international hackers, the report said. The effort relied on help from outside, including the Academia Sinica, according to the ministry.