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Taiwan Conducts Missile Tests Amid Beijing Pressure

Earlier this week the island's defense minister said the country hopes to acquire cruise missiles from the US.

Taiwan’s National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) conducted missile tests on Thursday in the southern and eastern part of the country.

The NCSIST launched missiles — reportedly the Sky Bow III — from Jiupeng Air Force Base in Pingtung County and the Jihui Fishing Port in Taitung County between 7:40 and 9:10 pm, the Council of Agriculture Fisheries Agency reported. Additional tests on April 23 and 26 are expected to follow.

The Sky Bow III is designed to engage medium and long-range aerial threats such as aircraft and a variety of enemy missiles. In 2001, the weapon made its first test flight, concluding tests a decade later.

Additional High-Powered Weapons

On Monday, Taiwan Defense Minister Lee Shih-Chiang announced that the country hopes to acquire cruise missiles from the US. The procurement is an attempt to strengthen the country’s ability to retaliate in the event of war with China.

Lee explained that they plan to buy Lockheed Martin Corp’s AGM-158, a precision standoff cruise missile that can be attached to aircraft such as F-16s.

“We are still in the process of seeking it,” the defense minister said. “Communication channels are very smooth and normal.”

Chinese Incursions

In January, Taiwan reported that China made a record 380 incursions into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) last year, including jets, bombers, and surveillance planes.

“The 380 incursions into our southwest ADIZ in 2020 are a lot more frequent than the past,” defense ministry spokesman Shih Shun-wen said. “[This] poses a threat to regional and national security.”

Beijing’s aggression increased after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was elected in 2016. Ing-wen has rejected the “one country, two systems” offer of autonomy by China and continues to reject Beijing’s “One China” principle.


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