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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan can intercept North Korean missile: defense minister

ROC Central News Agency

2013/04/11 17:17:39

Taipei, April 11 (CNA) Responding to concerns that Pyongyang will move beyond bellicose rhetoric and launch a missile that could hit Taiwan, Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu said Thursday that Taiwan is capable of intercepting a North Korean missile.

Kao told the Legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee that previously collated data shows that the chances of Taiwan being accidentally hit by a North Korean missile are low.

'It does not pose a threat to us,' he told legislators, referring to a possible missile launch by North Korea.

Asked whether Taiwan's miliatary can intercept a missile if one should come toward Taiwan by accident, Kao said 'yes' without any elaboration.

At the center of attention was an Air Force long-range radar based in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan, which detected a North Korean launch in December 2012 minutes earlier than radars in Japan.

Kao said that each detection is different and it largely depends on the launch location, the type of rocket being launched and the direction in which it travels.

Taiwan was able to detect the December launch within a minute because the rocket was flying in the general direction of the Philippines, he said, adding that Taiwan would still be able to detect missiles aimed in other directions by drawing upon different intelligence sources.

Ministry of National Defense officials also said Thursday that despite the continued saber-rattling from Pyongyang, there were major maneuvers in North Korea Wednesday.

Nonetheless, China flew a reconnaissance flight over the Yellow Sea, while the United States sent five surveillance aircraft over waters west of the Korean peninsula, the ministry noted.

(By Chen Pei-huang and Ann Chen)

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