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China could raise number of missiles aimed at Taiwan: Minister


TAIPEI (AFP): China could raise the number of missiles aimed at Taiwan to 1,900 by the end of this year despite warming ties between the former bitter rivals, according to the island’s deputy defence minister.

Military experts estimate that the PLA currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island.

But recent media reports have said the People's Liberation Army may boost the number of short-range ballistic and cruise missiles facing Taiwan to 1,960 before the year’s end.

“Judging from their manufacturing capacities, the PLA could increase to that number of missiles targeting Taiwan before the year's end,” Andrew Yang, an academic-turned deputy defence minister, told AFP.

Although tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased since President Ma Ying-jeou's China-friendly administration came to power in 2008, “Beijing has never renounced the use of force against Taipei,” Yang warned.

Beijing has repeatedly vowed to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence even though Taiwan has governed itself since the end of civil war in 1949.

Yang did not discuss possible evidence indicating a missile build-up by the PLA.

The perceived military threat has prompted Taiwan to launch wargames simulating an invasion by China.

Taiwan’s president has also vowed to build stronger armed forces to serve as a deterrent against aggression from Beijing, while also promising to push for a peace treaty to end more than six decades of hostilities.

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China  Taiwan  

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