Taiwan issues mixed message on missile test ahead of U.S.-China talks
Taiwan reportedly tested 19 missiles on the day Chinese President Hu Jintao left for talks in Washington.
January 18th, 2011
03:53 PM ET

Taiwan issues mixed message on missile test ahead of U.S.-China talks

The timing is odd, for sure, but Taiwan’s president says Tuesday's missile test had nothing to do with Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington.

The Taipei Times reported that President Ma Ying-jeou was not exactly pleased with the test results. Of the 19 missiles fired, some of which were U.S.-made, six encountered technical difficulties.

One, an American AIM-7 Sparrow, ascended 200 yards “before radically changing direction and plummeting into the South China Sea,” the Times reported. Four others failed to detonate.

“I’m not satisfied with the results,” Ma said. “I hope the military will determine the reasons and improve its training.”

The paper said that 576 members of the armed forces participated in the drills.

Several media outlets pointed out the noteworthy timing of the test, which came on the day Hu left for the United States.

It also came a week after China tested its J-20 fighter jet, which is said to have stealth technology, and as Taipei is reiterating its desire to purchase new F-16 fighter jets from the United States, Voice of America reported.

Taiwan has governed itself since 1949, but Beijing still considers the region part of its territory. Though Ma has tried to improve ties with China – primarily in the economic arena – many Taiwanese are opposed to improving relations.

Andrew Yang, Taiwan’s deputy defense secretary, told the BBC that China has never ruled out the use of force in achieving reunification.

We consider this a direct threat against us, so we need to consolidate our armed forces,” he told the station.

This is where the messages coming out of Taipei seem mixed.

While Yang told the BBC that the missile drills were intended to remind the U.S. that Taiwan needed help defending itself, Ma said the test had “nothing whatsoever” to do with China, according to the Taipei Times.

He further said the date for the exercise, the first of two this year, had been set before Hu announced his trip to the U.S. and before the J-20 test flight.

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Filed under: China • Politics • Security • Taiwan
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Serge

    Love it, he seems very confused. Not really the statement you would want to make.

    I hope the U.S. does not get involved in this, it seems places are trying to use us as a police force.........

    January 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      First off,Taiwan is not requesting any US military presence in Taiwan. They are simply asking US government to sell F-16s to Taiwan. I think you need to read the article again.

      January 19, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Edward

    Your claim that many Taiwanese oppose better relations with the Mainland. However, a survey conducted by the Mainland Affairs Council shows that the majority of those polled said that cross strait relations were improving at the right speed or too slowly (http://www.mac.gov.tw/public/Attachment/010131745347.pdf).

    January 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      Hi Edward, that's correct. I said many, not most. If you check the link, it will take you to the survey I was citing. Thanks for reading, pal!

      January 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    We must help the Pakistanians if there was major damage. Children and old people will suffer the most.

    January 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    Soldiers in Afghanistan let us know if you are alright from the quake that hit Pakistan!

    January 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tammy

    Seems like only yesterday that the 7.0 quake hit Haiti!

    January 18, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kabel

    If the people of Taiwan want better relations with mainland China, they sure have a poor way of showing it.

    January 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      true, but not to say, china has 1,000's missile pointing toward Taiwan. i will just said it normal for Taiwan self defending toward the china.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy

    W t f are you people talking about??? This is supposed to be about Taiwan!
    Whatever. Comcast can still bite me!!!

    January 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank

    See the USA, in your new Chevro(Hu Jintao)let.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. COL. BAT GUANO

    Those Taiwan's aren't real good at putting a real good missile together.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    So how many WERE American made ? Are we pawning off all the duds to other countries ?

    January 19, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
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