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April 30, 2017

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China has medium range missiles trained on Taiwan: Defense Ministry

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan confirmed for the first time Monday that mainland China was targeting Taiwan with Dongfeng 16 medium range precision strike missiles as a means of intimidating the island.

The missiles have a range of 1,600 kilometers and are difficult to intercept with the Patriot PAC-3 anti-ballistic missile systems defending Taiwan, due to the Dongfeng 16's increased range and speed.

In a report delivered by Feng to the Legislative Yuan on "Changes and Responses to the East Asian Region following the Election of U.S. President Trump", the Defense Ministry stated that China was increasing its intimidation of Taiwan. Measures included upgrading military equipment, coordinating its naval and air forces, and holding joint combat drills with its indigenous J10, J11 and J15 fighters.

The report also indicated that Chinese missile deployments, including those of the Dongfeng 16, represent the strengthening and modernization of weapons and equipment aimed at Taiwan.

Feng said that the U.S. may adjust its Asia-Pacific security posture in light of tensions on the Korean peninsula. Other sources of potential conflict among the region included disputed sovereignty in areas such as the East China Sea (Diaoyutai) and the South China Sea.

The defense minister added that Taiwan would enhance its early warning systems while strengthening its response measures in demonstration of its resolve to defend the island, while also pursuing peace and communication.

Taiwan is seeking a new arms package from the Trump administration in response to China's increased military posturing around its waters. Media reports last week indicated that the U.S. may be prepared to sell Taiwan advanced rocket systems, anti-ship missiles and other equipment to help the island defend itself.

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