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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Korea rocket launch 'very unwise': president

ROC Central News Agency

2012/12/12 16:16:27

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) A new early warning radar system helped Taiwan detect North Korea's rocket launch shortly after the rocket blasted off Wednesday morning, according to the country's Ministry of Defense.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the ministry said it closely monitored North Korea's rocket launch and indicated that the rocket's flight did not pose any threat to Taiwan's national security.

'Our long-range early warning radar system detected the North Korean rocket flying over waters some 200 kilometers east of Taiwan and that the first and second stages of the rocket crashed into waters off South Korea and the Philippines, respectively,' the MND said in a statement.

It marked the first time that the ministry has mentioned the functioning of the military's early warning radar system. The military has revealed few technical details about its new radar installation, code-named the 'Anpang Project.'

MND spokesman Luo Shou-he later confirmed that the long-range early warning radar system installed at Loshan in Hsinchu County was formally inaugurated Tuesday and has since become operational.

The U.S.-built radar, worth more than NT$40 billion (US$1.37 billion), is more powerful than those of the same type currently in service in the United States, according to military sources.

The radar can detect and track short- and long-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, the sources said, adding that the radar can pinpoint the trajectory of any intruding missile and thus give Taiwan more time to prepare a response.

Lt. Gen. Chen Tien-sheng, chief of staff at the Air Force Command Headquarters, once said at a legislative session that the system can detect targets as far away as 3,000 miles, including stealth warplanes.

But local media have reported that the U.S. supplier of the system repeatedly raised the price of the radar installation, and some critics have contended that Taiwan acquired the system at a price far higher than that offered to other countries.

Because the U.S. does not have access to the intelligence collected from the new system, Taiwanese lawmakers have suggested that the military should not offer intelligence collected through the radar system to the United States for free.

(By Chen Pei-huang and Sofia Wu)
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