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. Taiwan deploys missiles on mobile launchers: report
TAIPEI (AFP) Jan 16, 2005
The military has begun to deploy mobile launcher trucks installed with fixed-base missiles around Taiwan to counter Chinese weapons trained on the island, it was reported Sunday.

The trucks carry home-grown Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles which are difficult to detect by aerial reconnaissance, the Liberty Times said.

The defense ministry declined to comment on the report.

Taiwan's Defense Minister Lee Jye has said China has at least 600 ballistic missiles facing the island, and the number is likely to rise to 800 before the end of 2006.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to invade if the island, which has been ruled separately since 1949, formally declares independence.

In June Taiwan's cabinet approved a special budget of 610.8 billion Taiwan dollars (18.2 billion US) to purchase sophisticated weaponry from Washington over a 15-year period starting in 2005. The budget requires parliament's final approval.

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