Taiwan Will Test-Fire Missile System in US amid Tensions with China

Taiwan Will Test-Fire Missile System in US amid Tensions with China
Mon Jun 27, 2016 17:43:28

Taiwan has announced that it plans to carry out the first test of its latest missile system in the US amid tensions with China.

A defense source said Monday that Taiwan will carry out the test of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system in July at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The sources said the test will be carried out in the US to prevent China from collecting information on the sensitive move. They said space restrictions in Taiwan were also considered in moving the test to the US.

Local media covered the issue but there was no official confirmation from US officials stationed in Taiwan.

Washington is Taiwan’s biggest ally and largest arms supplier. However, it has no official diplomatic ties with Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan serves as the de facto US embassy in the self-ruling island.

China views Taiwan as part of its territory, saying it would force it into reunification if necessary. The two nations split in 1949 after a civil war.

Relations have soured since Beijing-skeptic President Tsai Ing-wen took office in Taiwan in May and ended an eight-year rapprochement.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry says there are 1,500 Chinese missiles aimed at the island. Beijing fired two such missiles near Taiwan in 1995 and 1996 in a bid to discourage voters from attending presidential elections.

Local newspapers said the test-fires of the missiles, which will come during a drill, will see Taiwanese units fire two missiles to intercept a missile launched by the US military, which simulates an incoming Chinese ballistic missile.

The reports said Taiwan bought the systems well before Tsai’s presidency and that the US approved the tests last year.

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