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China aims new missile at Taiwan

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TAIPEI (AFP): Taiwan’s top intelligence chief said that China is targeting the island with a new type of ballistic missile.

"The Chinese communists have deployed the Dongfeng 16, which is a new powerful missile aimed at Taiwan," said Tsai Teh-sheng, the director-general of the National Security Bureau.

"Its range is longer, and it increases the threat to Taiwan," Tsai said while replying to queries raised by Lin Yu-fang, a legislator from the ruling Kuomintang party.

Tsai declined to provide technical details about the new weapon as well as the number that has been deployed so far. Dongfeng means "East Wind".

Taiwanese experts estimate China's People's Liberation Army currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island, mostly deployed in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces in the mainland's southeast.

Tensions across the Taiwan Straits have eased since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang came to power in 2008 on a platform of beefing up trade links and allowing in more Chinese tourists.

However, China still refuses to renounce the possible use of force against the island to bring about its long-stated goal of re-taking Taiwan, which has ruled itself since the end of a civil war in 1949.

The Pentagon said in an annual report to Congress last year that China's military build-up against Taiwan has "continued unabated" despite improving political relations.

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