Taiwan has missile that can reach mainland, ex-defence chief says

Ex-defence minister alleges existence of medium-range weapon in the island's arsenal

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 March, 2013, 5:59am


Taiwan has developed its first medium-range guided missile that could be used against the mainland, a former defence chief has written in a new book.

Michael Tsai, defence minister in the former government of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, wrote that the military successfully developed the missile back in 2008, The Liberty Times reported yesterday.

The defence ministry in Taipei responded by rounding on Tsai, saying disclosure of the information "may endanger national security".

The newspaper noted that Tsai knowingly used the term "medium-range guided missile" in contrast to the cruise missiles already in the island's arsenal.

In 2010, Taiwan confirmed it was mass-producing Hsiung Feng 2E cruise missiles, its answer to the US-made Tomahawk, despite fast warming ties with the mainland.

The missiles can be launched from land or sea, and are capable of hitting airports and missile bases in the southeastern part of the mainland, as well as Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Tsai did not give specifications for the medium-range weapon described in his book, entitled God bless Taiwan, which will be published today.

"We have to develop weapons on our own if we are to deter any attacks by [the mainland], which has targeted Taiwan with more than 1,000 missiles," he wrote.

The defence ministry, which often declines to comment on reports regarding the development and acquisition of sensitive weaponry, condemned his revelations. "As Tsai has served as defence minister, he should know that safeguarding national secrets is his due obligation," spokesman David Lo said. "We regret what he has done."