Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

Mainland tests more missiles

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 March, 2004, 12:00am

The mainland has carried out at least five missile tests since the beginning of the year, a US newspaper reported.

Some of the tests allegedly involved the same types of missile as those deployed along the eastern coastline facing Taiwan.

Quoting US intelligence officials, conservative newspaper The Washington Times said the tests involved the DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missile and a new 'cluster warhead' which spreads multiple bomblets rather than a single payload.

The report said the missiles had been launched from the Wuzhai missile testing centre in Shanxi and had landed in western China.

US intelligence officers were quoted as saying that the tests appeared to be a message to Taiwan ahead of tomorrow's presidential election.

However, a PLA specialist in Taiwan disagreed.

Wang Kaocheng, of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies in Taipei, said the mainland frequently tested missiles and had so far refrained from taking belligerent action before this year's presidential campaign.

'This appears to be a normal exercise and is not directed at a specific region because of the various missile types being tested,' Professor Wang said.