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Missile unit deployed in Taipei after getting upgraded in US: report

By Joseph Yeh--The first batch of the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) missile launchers that Taiwan previously sent to the United States for upgrade has been secretly sent back to the country after being upgraded to the more advanced PAC-3 configuration, according to the United Evening News (UEN) report yesterday.

The upgraded surface-to-air guided missile defense system is currently being deployed in Taipei's Nangang District (南港區) to meet the air defense need in the capital city, according to the report.

The PAC-3 unit will be ready to use when necessary in response the scheduled North Korean rocket launch later this month, a issue that has already raised grave concerns among China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the U.S, the UEN said.

The newly upgraded missile defense system is one of the three PAC-2 systems Taiwan currently has that the U.S. previously agreed to help upgrade.

Aside from sending the existing systems for improvement, the Taiwan military also bought a total of six brand new PAC-3 missile programs to strengthen its air defense capabilities.

Unidentified military sources said the missile defense systems will also be placed at New Taipei's Xidian (新店) and Wanli (萬里) districts once they have completed upgrades in the future, the UEN said.

Meanwhile, newly purchased PAC-3 programs, once acquired, will be stationed at air bases in central Taichung, southern Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohisung cities, the report said.

The new fully operational PAC-3 provides advanced defenses against enemy cruise missiles and aircraft, and unlike previous systems, tactical ballistic missiles, the report said.

The biggest difference between the PAC-2 and the PAC-3 is that the latter allows the missile to actually hit the incoming target and explode so that the incoming missile is completely destroyed.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday refused to comment on the UEN report.

More Missiles Targeting Taiwan: Magazine

Meanwhile, a foreign magazine reported yesterday that China is building more short-range missile pads in its southeastern coastal Fujian province, targeting Taiwan despite warming cross-strait ties.

Satellites showed that the People's Liberation Army has built more missile launch pads at two locations in northern Fujian province, which is only 258 kilometers away from Taiwan, according to the latest report of Canadian-based Kanwa Asian Defence Monthly.

The report said these pads could be used as facilities to launch Dong Feng 11 short-range ballistic missiles.

According to previous MND reports, the latest number of ballistic missiles that China deployed along its coastal provinces aimed at Taiwan is around 1,500.

In response to the report, MND spokesman Luo Shou-he said yesterday the MND is closely monitoring the development of China's new military system and will take responsive measures amid concerns over a possible security threat.

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Mobile PAC-3 missile launchers are transported to an outlying island in Japan ahead of North Korea's upcoming rocket launch, yesterday. Taiwan has completed the upgrade of one PAC-2 system to PAC-3 configuration. Two more systems are waiting to be upgraded, and the government has also bought six new PAC-3 missile units to strengthen Taiwan's air defense capabilities. (AP/Kyodo News)

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