Taiwan says mainland Chinese medium-range ballistic missiles aimed at the island

Taiwan says mainland Chinese medium-range ballistic missiles aimed at the island
Chinese military vehicles debuting DF-16 ballistic missiles at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing during a 2015 military parade. The medium-range missile, capable of threatening United States and Japanese bases in Asia with a strike range of more than 1,000km, has made its third public appearance at recent Rocket Force drills over the Chinese New Year holiday. Photo: AP

Taiwan says mainland Chinese medium-range ballistic missiles aimed at the island

Deployment of DF-16 missiles part of the increased military intimidation of Taiwan by Beijing, according to island's defence minister

TAIWAN — Taiwan's Defence Minister confirmed on Monday that mainland China has deployed highly accurate ballistic missiles that can launch precise strikes against the island, the Central News Agency reported.

The medium-range DF-16 has been deployed by the PLA's Rocket Force as the mainland steps up its military intimidation against Taiwan, Defence Minister Feng Shih-kuan said.

Feng was speaking to the Foreign Affairs and National Defence Committee in the Legislative Yuan, the island's legislature.

He gave no further details of where the missiles were deployed.

The DF-16 missile was publicly displayed at a Beijing military parade in 2015 and is believed to have a range of about 1,000km, putting it within striking distance of Taiwan, the Philippines and Okinawa in Japan, home to several US military installations.

It was featured in a video posted by mainland China's Defence Ministry last month, with the missiles on a 10-wheel transport vehicle being deployed in a forest during exercises over the Lunar New Year holiday period.

Feng said the mainland has stepped up its combat capabilities and the modernisation of its weaponry since last year as the PLA revamps its military.

Beijing has also increased the "intimidation" of Taiwan by staging six military exercises in the West Pacific, with its navy and air force passing areas around Taiwan, Feng said.

These included sending the mainland's sole aircraft carrier the Liaoning to carry out training exercises in waters to the east of Taiwan.

Retired generals on the mainland also frequently played up the military risks posed in the Taiwan Strait, Feng said.

Cross-strait ties have been strained since the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took power in Taiwan in May last year.

The Beijing friendly Kuomingtang was replaced by an administration led by President Tsai Ing-wen.

Beijing has also taken a tougher military stance against the island following a phone call between Tsai and Donald Trump after his election victory last year.

Mainland China considers Taiwan a breakaway Chinese province and tries to deter any contacts between foreign dignitaries and the island's government. SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST