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TAIWAN TO PURCHASE SIX PATRIOT PAC-3 MISSILE BATTERIES: MND

2004-03-03 14:11:57

    Taipei, March 3 (CNA) Taiwan will purchase six Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries from the United States under a 10-year weaponry system procurement plan, a high ranking Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said Wednesday.

    The purchase of the six Patriot PAC-3 batteries -- among the priorities in the NT$500 billion (US$15.06 billion) 10-year weaponry system procurement plan -- is scheduled to be fulfilled in 15 years beginning next year, Vice Minister of Defense Chen Chao-min said at the Legislative Yuan.

    Reporting on the 10-year procurement plan at the Legislative Yuan Committee of National Defense Affairs, Chen said that while the exact price of the six Patriot batteries is still under negotiation, the execution of related budget is scheduled to begin in 2005, adding that all the six missile batteries are expected to be delivered and deployed before 2119 [sic].

    The 10-year procurement plan is aimed at building an anti-missile system for Taiwan while bolstering the island's retaliatory capabilities in the face of the increasing missile threat from mainland China, Chen noted.

    The deputy defense minister said that possible attacks by mainland Chinese submarines or guided missiles are the two greatest threats to Taiwan's security.

    Chen said the 10-year weaponry system procurement plan is a set MND policy which will not be affected by the results of the referendum scheduled to be held on the day of the presidential election March 20.

    One of the two referendum questions is whether Taiwan should strengthen its anti-missile defense capabilities if mainland China refuses to remove its deployed missiles aimed at the island.

(By Deborah Kuo)

ENDITEM/Li



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