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MISSILE NEWS
China 'to target 1,800 missiles at Taiwan in 2012'

by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) May 20, 2011
The number of Chinese missiles targeted at Taiwan is likely to reach 1,800 next year, despite improving ties between the former arch-rivals, Taiwanese media said Friday.

The Liberty Times newspaper cited a military intelligence report as providing the forecast.

Taiwanese experts have estimated that China currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island, mostly deployed in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces in the mainland's southeast.

The report followed comments made by Taiwan's top intelligence chief Tsai Teh-sheng in March, saying that China was targeting Taiwan with a "new type of powerful missile" known as Dongfeng 16.

"Its range is longer, and it increases the threat to Taiwan," Tsai said then, without giving further details of the weapon or the number that have been deployed so far.

Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased since Ma Ying-jeou became Taiwan's president in 2008 on a China-friendly platform.

However, Beijing still refuses to renounce the possible use of force against the island, which has ruled itself since the end of a civil war in 1949, should it declare formal independence.

The Pentagon said in an annual report to Congress last year that China's military build-up against Taiwan had "continued unabated" despite improving political relations.

Taiwan's defence ministry was not immediately available for comment.



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