, Continuing its campaign to promote the purchase of advanced weapons from the United States, the military yesterday assured reporters that the Patriot Advanced Capabilities III missile system could intercept missiles China has aimed at Taiwan.

Major General Chang Sway said yesterday that PAC-3 tests performed in early September at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico proved the effectiveness of the advanced anti-missile system.

The People's Liberation Army has targeted an estimated 500 Dong Feng ballistic missiles and Dong Hai cruise missiles at Taiwan, a strategic force that the local military hopes the PAC-3 missile batteries will offset.

The military has launched an unprecedented publicity campaign to drum up support for the NT$610.8 billion arms package that is now under consideration at the Legislative Yuan. In addition to six PAC-3 batteries consisting of 388 missiles, the deal includes eight diesel-electric submarines and 12 P3-C Orion anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

The public relations campaign comes at a time when China is thought to have successfully test-fired the Dong Hai-10 (East China Sea-10), a new land attack cruise missile considered to pose a major threat to Taiwan.

According to Jane's Defense Weekly, the DH-10 is a ground-launched second-generation LACM with a range of more than 1,500 kilometers, able to hit within 10 meters of its target.

But Chang, a missile defense specialist, believed the tests conducted in the U.S. demonstrated that the new Patriots could handle the DH-10 and other missiles.

“One (Patriot) was fired at an incoming Patriot-as-a-target (PAAT), representing a short range Tactical Ballistic Missile. A second PAC-3 was fired at a low-flying MQM-107D cruise missile target. Both targets were destroyed and their test objectives were all met,” Chang said.