The Age, The Taiwanese Government, facing a build-up of hundreds of ballistic missiles on the nearby Chinese mainland, has revealed its own missile program and refused to rule out a “pre-emptive” attack on communist forces.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence said in a report just tabled in the legislature that it is preparing missiles capable of striking deep inside China to disable military equipment that could be used to attack Taiwan.
Defence Minister Tang Yiau-ming has told legislators the Government would not rule out pre-emptive attacks on military targets if it appeared mainland forces were preparing to invade across the 180-kilometre-wide Taiwan Strait.
In the event of a threat, the National Security Council would advise the President, who would take the ultimate decision to launch a preventive strike, he said. But Taiwan would not try to provoke Beijing. “Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is the ultimate goal of our military build-up,” he said.
US Defence Department assessments say China has positioned more than 400 short-range ballistic missiles in range of Taiwan and is adding a further 50 missiles a year, in a build-up intended to deter Taiwan from any move towards formal independence.
The Taiwan defence report said an independent missile command was being set up to direct the new weapons, but did not detail the kinds of missile that were being developed.
The Government is known to be working on both cruise and ballistic missiles.