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Taiwan defense minister says China missiles pose threat
21 March 2017, 10:02 | Terri Saunders
Taiwan defense minister says China missiles pose threat
"We call on the United States and China, when they improve relations, to not use Taiwan in their own interest or as a chess piece", Ms Catherine Chang, Taiwan's minister in charge of China affairs, told reporters.
Ms Chang urged Beijing to communicate with Taipei "in order to maintain stability and peace in the Asia-Pacific region".
Her comments came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during his Asia tour, told that Trump is anticipating a meeting with Xi "soon".
But Taiwan claim China is targeting the island with around 1,500 missiles.
Relations between the two countries have crashed to an all time low after Beijing-skeptic President Tsai Ing-wen took power a year ago.
After President Barack Obama's administration scuttled a $1 billion arms package to Taiwan in his final months in office, a move that shortly followed President Donald Trump giving audience to Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen over the phone, Taiwanese lawmakers praised Washington's willingness to supply a more sophisticated weapons package under the Trump administration, the South China Morning Post reported.
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Taiwan is seeking a new arms package from the Trump administration, in response to China's increased military posturing around its waters.
Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan told the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan's Parliament) the Republic of China Armed Forces (ROCAF) has the capability to launch missiles deep into Chinese territory, an eye-popping assertion considering what's known about ROCAF's land attack cruise missiles.
The DF-16 represents an increased threat to Taiwan because it is hard to intercept with anti-ballistic missiles systems such as the MIM-104 Patriot PAC-3, according to USA media reports. "We hope that the United States can fully recognize the high sensitivity and severe harmfulness of such arms sale, remain committed to the one China policy and the principles of the three China-U.S. joint communique, stop selling arms to Taiwan", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press briefing.
"As the DF-16 is released at a high altitude and targets a single area, we are able to counter the missile as it passes through the atmosphere", Feng said.
Peng Sheng-chu, chief of Taiwan's National Security Bureau, said: "We should seek the greatest advantage in the interaction between the United States and China, to reduce the possibility of Communist China guiding and manipulating the US-China-Taiwan relationship". The value of all transfer agreements in 2015 added up to $79.9 billion, the report said, making the US' $40.2 billion in sales represented market share 50.29%.
In December, Taiwan celebrated a diplomatic coup when Mr Trump, as President-elect, took a congratulatory phone call from Ms Tsai and raised questions about whether he would stick with Washington's four-decade-old "one China" policy.
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