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Taiwan Developing Cruise Missiles (22 Feb 2003)

Taiwan needs to stock up on Anti-Missile systems to combat China's growing missile threat. China is adding 75 missiles a year to its weapon store aimed at Taiwan and is expected to total 600 by 2005. Faced with the increasing missile threat, the United States urged Taipei to advance quickly with anti-missile systems, notably Lockheed Martin's Patriot PAC-3, to counteract the Chinese buildup in both the short and mid period.

Taiwan is advised to start acquiring enough defensive weapons and systems to address the threat posed by China, as a surprise and rapid attack from China could render any US military assistance ineffective. Taiwan will not be able to depend on US defence against Chinese conventional ballistic and land attack cruise missiles, especially during the early conflict stages.

Before 2005 Beijing is also expected to deploy first-generation cruise missiles made to attack land targets.

Another short-to mid-term option for Taiwan could be the Arrow missile interceptor, developed jointly by Israel and the US and declared operational since October 2000. Other possible options would be upgrading the Tien-Jung 2A interceptors that were tested in 1998 and acquiring the surface-launched US-built AMRAAM missiles.

The US is considering a Taiwanese request for the immediate delivery of Raytheon-built AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air missiles purchased in 2000. The missiles were initially to be stored in the US until or unless China fielded a similar air-to-air system.