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April 29, 2017

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Army to break out Howitzer in drill

The Army is set to shoot a 240mm Howitzer next week during a live fire drill on the Kinmen island, with the gun's range capable of reaching targets along the coast of southeastern China, military officials said.

The Army last fired the Howitzer on June 6, 2008, but has not shot it since amid improving cross-strait ties under President Ma Ying-jeou's.

The Kinmen Command said the upcoming live fire drill, which will take place early in the morning on Oct. 17, is a routine exercise. It asks the public not to attach undue significance to the exercise.

Kinmen, which lies close to the southeastern Chinese coast, has been a major defense outpost against its communist rival on mainland China.

The 240mm Howitzer, weighing 25,440 kilograms, has a maximum range of around 23 kilometers, and is able to fire 160-kilogram high explosive projectiles that upon landing can destroy targets in an area the size of a soccer field, the military said.

The U.S. military deployed 240mm Howitzers on the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen and Matsu after a major artillery battle in 1958 between the Kuomintang troops on the islands and their communist foe on the Chinese coast.

The military said other smaller artillery guns will also be fired from Kinmen and Matsu during next week's exercise.

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