Foreign media in need of guidance over missiles

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 May, 2005, 12:00am

The foreign media has an uncanny ability to uncover military secrets from Beijing. While covering the historic visits of Taiwanese opposition leaders Lien Chan and James Soong Chu-yu to the mainland, report after report tirelessly reminds the reader that China has, precisely, 725 missiles pointed at the renegade island state.

Here is a typical sample from Reuters this week, but it's repeated time and again in The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, CNN and the International Herald Tribune: 'China views Taiwan as a renegade province and has pointed an estimated 725 missiles at the democratic island of 23 million people.'

Google '725 missiles & China', and more than 8,000 entries show up. Don't you think China would have changed its missile strategy after everyone learned about it, assuming it was an accurate estimate in the first place? Haven't my foreign colleagues heard of such things as missile guidance systems? This means you input the co-ordinates to direct which way the missile is to go. Until it has lifted off, a missile is not 'pointed' at any target.