Taiwan plans its own missiles to hit China
Faced with a threatening military buildup by China, an increasingly outgunned Taiwan is quietly pushing ahead with plans to develop missiles that could strike the mainland, defense and security experts say.I wonder how vigorously the US opposes the missiles. Any offensive capacity Taiwan has means that much less the US will have to expend to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack. We probably oppose the build up the same way we oppose the China build up on the mainland.
Taiwan successfully tested its first cruise missile with that kind of range this year, one that could send a nearly 900-pound warhead more than 600 miles, to targets as distant as Shanghai, military analysts said.
Some Taiwanese military specialists have argued for decades that Taiwan should develop offensive weapons, including missiles, as a deterrent to the mainland, which has threatened to attack the self-governing island if it moves toward formal independence. The Pentagon estimates that China has deployed 900 missiles across from Taiwan.
Senior military officials and lawmakers in the governing Democratic Progressive Party of President Chen Shui-bian have confirmed that the cruise missiles were under development.
They said these missiles were essential to Taiwan’s defense because of China’s soaring spending on weapons.
“They want to make mainland China hesitate before launching any attack,” said Andrei Chang, a Hong Kong-based expert on the Chinese and Taiwanese militaries and editor in chief of Kanwa Defense Review magazine. “These missiles could not only destroy military targets, but financial and economic targets as well.
“They want to create massive panic,” he added.
There have also been unconfirmed news reports in Taiwan that the military is developing short-range ballistic missiles. Mr. Chen’s independence-leaning administration refuses to comment on the existence of such a program.
At a time when Taipei has angered China with a decision to hold a referendum on the island’s bid to rejoin the United Nations under the name of Taiwan, the deployment of missiles that could strike the mainland could further increase tensions. The Bush administration has signaled that it opposes Taiwan’s developing such weapons.