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Taiwan Extends Range Of Cruise Missile

The Hsiung-feng 2E (Brave Wind) cruise missile's range has topped 800 km in tests.
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) April 23, 2007
Taiwan has extended the range of a cruise missile that is capable of hitting military airports and missile bases in China, it was reported Monday.

The report came as the independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian highlighted Taiwan's identity in a move likely to irk Beijing, which regards the island as part of its territory awaiting to be reunified.

The range of Hsiung-feng 2E (Brave Wind) cruise missile had been designed at 600 kilometres (360 miles), the Taipei-based China Times said.

But researchers at Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology have made a technological breakthrough and "several test-fires showed its range has topped 800 kilometres" it said, without identifying the source.

Should war break out, the missile would be used to attack military airports and missile bases in southeastern China, the paper said, adding that mass production of the weapon could begin soon.

China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should it declare formal independence, prompting the island to seek more advanced weaponry.

The Taiwanese defence ministry declined to comment on the report.

On Monday, President Chen vowed to push ahead with Taiwan's bids to join the United Nations, World Health Organisation and other international bodies.

"Taiwan's 23 million people should not be kept out of the United Nations and should not stand alone to face China's growing military threat ... this is not fair to Taiwan," Chen said.

Chen appeared to toughen his stance last month when he pledged in a speech to push for independence and a new constitution.

The remarks drew criticism from the United States, wary of the risk of being dragged into a conflict with China.

Chen ended the 51-year grip on power by the Kuomintang party when he was elected the president in 2000. He was re-elected in 2004.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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