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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Defense minister denies U.S. selling Taiwan Tomahawk cruise missiles

ROC Central News Agency

2007-10-22 11:47:51

    Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) Defense Minister Lee Tien-yu denied categorically a daily newspaper report Monday that the United States might agree to sell cutting-edge BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles to Taiwan.

    Fielding questions at the Legislative Yuan, Lee said he had no knowledge about the allegation published by the Taipei-based China Times Monday that the U.S. government might consider selling the all-weather submarine or ship-launched land-attack BGM-109 Tomahawk missile to Taiwan.

    The China Times reported that in a bid to discourage Taiwan from continuing putting money into the research and development of its own land attack cruise missile, the Hsiung Feng-2E -- the latest version of Taiwan's domestically developed missile -- the U.S. military authorities might consider selling Tomahawks to Taiwan.

    The proposed sale is aimed at forcing Taiwan to abandon the NT$34.6 billion (US$1.06 billion) project to develop and mass produce Hsiung Feng-2E missiles, the daily claimed.

    Lee said the United States has not sold BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles to any other country.

    He added sarcastically that he is "grateful" that some media outlet has "made such an excellent arrangement" for Taiwan's military to beef up its defense capability.

    The Hsiung Feng-2E missile was not showcased during the military display on Double Ten National Day Oct. 10 because, according to the Ministry of National Defense, it is still in the development stage.

(By Deborah Kuo)

ENDITEM/J



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