China to have 800 missiles in 2006
TAIPEI: The number of Chinese ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan is expected to reach at least 800 next year, the island’s defense minister Lee Jye said Wednesday. The People’s Liberation Army currently has 700 ballistic missiles deployed opposite Taiwan, Lee said in his first report to the new session of parliament.
“The number is estimated to increase to 800 next year,” Lee warned in a call for support of a new 480 billion Taiwan dollar (15.24 billion US) arms package aimed at deterring China. His report came one day after Taipei lodged what one senior Taiwanese official called “the strongest protest” against “threats resorting to violent means” by China, which on Tuesday outlined an anti-secession law aimed at Taiwan. Beijing reiterated it was prepared to use force to bring the island to heel but only after all other avenues are exhausted. The alternative to force was peaceful reunification using the one country, two systems model adopted by Hong Kong, according to Wang Zhaoguo, vice chairman of the National People’s Congress, or parliament. Beijing on Friday announced it would boost military spending 12.6 percent this year to 247.7 billion yuan (29.9 billion dollars).
‘Solemn mission’: China on Wednesday ignored a US call for it to rethink a law that provides a legal basis for military action against Taiwan, telling lawmakers it was their “solemn mission” to pass the legislation. “Formulating the anti-secession law is a major event in China’s political life,” top legislater Wu Bangguo said at the National People’s Congress, China’s annual sitting of parliament. “The national legislature is sure to fulfill the solemn mission to do a good job in enacting the anti-secession law.” The text of the draft, published Wednesday by Taiwan’s United Daily News, calls for the use of “non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” if all else fails. afp