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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ministry to mull fitting cruise missiles on planned warships

ROC Central News Agency

2012/05/29 16:35:30

Taipei, May 29 (CNA) Taiwan's Defense Ministry said Tuesday it will mull the possibility of fitting indigenous cruise missiles on the warships the country plans to build at home, one day after lawmakers passed a proposal asking the ministry to consider such a move.

"The Ministry of National Defense will make related assessments on the issue," ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said in response to a question on equipping the planned missile boats with Taiwan-made Hsiung Feng 2E missiles.

The ministry will make decisions based on the evaluations, Luo said at a news conference.

Earlier this month, the Navy confirmed that it had commissioned Taiwan-based Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co. to build a 450-ton prototype missile boat as part of a policy to have its vessels built at home.

The deal to build a high-performance prototype will pave the way for the Navy to add 10 to 12 new warships to its fleet, according to a local media report, which the Navy declined to confirm.

The missile proposal was put forward by lawmaker Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang at a meeting of the Legislature's foreign affairs and national defense committee Monday.

Fitting the Hsiung Feng 2E missiles on the vessels would give the Navy a longer attack range and help it improve its combat capabilities, Lin said.

At Tuesday's news conference, Luo was also asked for an update on the Hsiung Feng 2E missile project, but he declined as usual to comment on issues related to the country's weapons-related research and development programs.

Local media reported on Monday that the ministry has completed the mass production and deployment of such missiles, described as a deterrent against the military threat from China.

(By Elaine Hou)

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