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Taiwan carries out largest-ever missile test: reports

Taiwan, China to meet in December: official
Taiwan and China, former Cold War foes that are now seeing an unprecedented thaw in relations, plan to hold talks on economic issues in December, the government here said Wednesday. The meeting, the fourth of its kind, will take place in the central Taiwan city of Taichung, said Liu Teh-shun, spokesman for the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's top agency responsible for China policy making. Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), which is in charge of talks in the absence of formal ties with the mainland, will meet his Chinese counterpart Chen Yunlin, Liu said. When Chen visited Taiwan last year, his presence triggered violent protests in the streets of Taipei, organised by advocates of independence from China. "The two sides will continue ironing out differences... so that the meeting can be held as scheduled," Liu said. The negotiations will centre on four topics, including avoidance of double taxation, agricultural products inspection, fisheries cooperation and industry standards certification. China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split at the end of a civil war in 1949, but China views Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. Relations have warmed since May 2008, when the China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou assumed the presidency. The two sides held their first direct dialogue in 10 years in Beijing in June last year, leading to regular direct flights across the Taiwan Strait and measures to boost tourism.
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Oct 14, 2009
Taiwan has carried out its largest-ever missile exercise, less than a fortnight after China showed off advanced ballistic weaponry in a massive National Day parade, local media said Wednesday.

The missiles were launched on Tuesday from the secretive and tightly guarded Chiupeng base in southern Taiwan and could strike major Chinese cities, the United Daily News reported.

President Ma Ying-jeou, who has been criticised for being too friendly with China, was among the observers of the exercise, the paper said, citing a "reliable military source".

The test came after China, which has vowed to take back Taiwan, celebrated 60 years of communist rule on October 1 by parading high-tech weapons including intercontinental ballistic missiles through the streets of Beijing.

Taiwan's defence ministry declined to comment on the report, which was also carried by the Liberty Times, when contacted by AFP.

The missiles tested included the Hsiungfeng 2E, which has a range of around 600 kilometres (375 miles) and has not yet entered the military's inventory, according to the Liberty Times.

The missile is intended for launch from both land and sea, and would be capable of striking airports and missile bases in southeast China, as well as cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong, military experts say.

Ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved markedly since Ma came to power in May last year, pledging to boost trade and allow in more Chinese tourists.

However, Beijing, which still regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, has refused to renounce the use of force in dealing with Taiwan.

In his annual National Day address last week, Ma said Taiwan would "never ignore the other side's military threat despite significant improvements in cross-Strait ties".

China has targeted the island with more than 1,000 ballistic missiles, Taiwan's defence ministry says.

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NKorea fires five short-range missiles: official
Seoul (AFP) Oct 12, 2009
North Korea test-fired five short-range missiles off its east coast Monday and banned ships from the area from October 10-20, a South Korean official said. The official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, confirmed a Yonhap news agency report of the launches and of the "no sail" zones covering parts of the east and west coasts. The agency quoted military experts as saying the ... read more

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