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Taiwan to scale back missile development, media reports

NSC, MND agree not to develop warhead capable of hitting Shanghai

Opposition DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong questions on June 19, 2008 Kinmen County Magistrate Lee Chu-feng's request that the stationed military perso...

Opposition DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong questions on June 19, 2008 Kinmen County Magistrate Lee Chu-feng's request that the stationed military perso...

Taiwan has relinquished plans to develop a missile capable of hitting Shanghai because of improving cross-strait relations, the local Chinese-language China Times said yesterday.
The article, quoting reliable but unnamed sources in the military, said the National Security Council (國家安全會議) and the Ministry of National Defense had agreed not to develop a missile that could reach targets more than 1,000 kilometers away.
Instead, the military would focus on the two current versions of the Hsiung Feng II E attack cruise missile with a more limited reach, the paper said. The HF-2E is a surface-to-surface missile based on the HF-2 anti-ship missile.
The military released a brief statement yesterday saying that in principle, it only researched and developed defensive weapons to defend the territory, and did not attack civilian targets.
The government's policy amounted to Taiwan sitting still and waiting to get hit, opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chai Trong-rong said in a news release yesterday.
The military had abandoned its strategy of maintaining a credible, effective deterrent, and was focusing on simple defense, Chai said.
According to unnamed authorities quoted by the China Times, there are two versions of the HF-2E currently in preparation. The first has a 600-kilometer reach and will be listed for production in the military's 2009 budget.
Early this year, a breakthrough was achieved developing a second version with an 800-kilometer radius. The new missile was tested successfully but is not ready for production yet, the paper said.
Originally, the military had wanted to continue research and develop a version that could hit targets more than 1,000 kilometers away, but improving relations with China changed its thinking into a more protective mode, the paper said.
Instead of developing a new version, research will now focus on strengthening the missile's accuracy and reliability, the China Times said.
Because the breakthrough in developing the missile with an 800-kilometer reach happened at the beginning of the year, just before the handover of power, the issue turned into a test case for President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) policies of improving relations with China, the paper said.
The new government decided to go ahead with the production of the cruise missiles, but with China's coastal areas as their main targets, according to the China Times.
The paper quoted unnamed National Security Council and military officials saying that the new policy would benefit relations with both China and the United States.


Updated : 2021-05-11 21:17 GMT+08:00