Taiwan missile can hit Beijing: ex-minister
The China Post news staffA former minister of national defense recently revealed in his memoir published recently that Taiwan-made intermediate-range cruise missile can reach as far as some Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and Chengdu, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday.
April 28, 2011, 12:04 am TWN
Tsai Ming-hsien, the last national defense minister in the former President Chen Shui-bian's administration, said in his memoir titled “Tsai Ming-hsien and National Defense” that the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CIST) under the Ministry of National Defense did carry out a trial launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile right before the 2008 presidential race, with the range of up to 2,000 kilometers.
This marked the first time for an off-duty official to confirm the research and development of ballistic missiles by the military sector.
Tsai's memoir stated that the trial launch of the ballistic missile was very likely to be detected by U.S. spy satellites. Just one week later, Stephen Young, then director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), visited the Ministry of National Defense and asked Tsai “Did you fire a ballistic missile last week?” Tsai answered,” We did launch the missile, but still at a trial stage,” and also promised that Taiwan wouldn't take the initiative to attack China and would inform the U.S. of any military action it would take.
Tsai was sworn in as the minister of national defense on Feb. 23, 2008, three months before Chen Shui-bian ended his second presidential term on May 20, 2008. Prior to this, Tsai served as a legislator, deputy representative to the U.S., deputy secretary general of the National Security Council, and deputy minister of national defense.
Tsai also noted in his book that during his three-month term as minister of national defense, he accompanied ex-President Chen Shui-bian to make more than 10 inspection tours of military operations, including seeing the launch of an intermediate ballistic missile.
He elaborated that one minute after the ballistic missile was fired, it swiftly dashed through the atmosphere toward the outer sky. CIST officials asked ex-President Chen whether or not to allow the missile to fly further beyond the general range for intermediate ballistic missiles, and Chen then instructed CIST officials in charge to allow the missile to fly to its target range. Chen was then quite satisfied with the performance of the trial launch, according to Tsai.
The former minister of national defense also mentioned tight tension seen across the Taiwan Strait before the presidential race was held on March 22, 2008, saying that all the intelligence garnered by the U.S. and Taiwan showed that the Guangzhou and Nanjing military zones were gearing up for military operations against Taiwan in case Frank Hsieh, the presidential election candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party, won the election and two related national referenda were passed.
In response, spokesman Lo Shao-ho of the Ministry of National Defense, said that they didn't know beforehand that former minister Tsai had planned to publish his memoir.
Lawmaker Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang said that Tsai should inform, in advance, the military sector of his intention to reveal any military secret in his memoir.