|Prei Dy |||Mar 18, 2017 08:07 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) Locals walk past Chinese missiles named 'Red Flag Number Three' at the Aircraft Museum May 12, 2001 in Beijing.
Taiwan, for the first time, publicly claimed that it is capable of launching missiles that will hit China, Feng Shih-kuan, Minister of National Defense, said while delivering a four-yearly report to parliament on Thursday.
"It is the first time the ministry has confirmed this," Wang Ting-yu told AFP, adding that Taiwanese missiles could travel over 1,500 kilometers.
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Taiwan has previously acknowledged that it produces cruise missiles, but it had never detailed their capabilities. Ties between Taiwan and China have grown cold after Tsai Ing-wen was elected president, bringing an end to an eight-year rapprochement.
"Should the enemy insist on invading, we will weaken their capabilities by striking enemy troops at their home bases, fighting them at sea, crushing them as they approach the coastlines, and wiping them out on the beaches," the report said.
China still considers Taiwan as part of its territory and is willing to bring it back into its fold, by force if necessary. This is despite the fact that the island has been self-governing after the two sides split in a civil war in 1949.
According to the Defense Ministry, China has over 1,500 missiles aimed at Taiwan, most of which are believed to be positioned near the Chinese coast. Taiwan's 200,000 troops is only a fraction of China's 2.3 million army.
In addition, the Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense also plans to buy new-generation stealth fighter jets with short or vertical takeoff and landing abilities from the United States to deter China. The Taiwanese military wants to acquire stealth jets to improve its asymmetrical capabilities as the cross-strait military balance between China and Taiwan starts to tilt in Beijing's favor, according to Taipei Times.
Aside from acquiring stealth jets from the US, Taiwan also plans to develop home-grown submarines and upgrade surface vessels; improve air-defense missile and road-mobile missile systems; and establish a fleet of unmanned aerial combat drones.
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