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Tue, Nov 07, 2000 - Page 3 News List

China's new missile poses `grave threat'

AFP , ZHUHAI, CHINA

A new missile which China has shown to the public for the first time could pose a grave threat to the defense of Taiwan if deployed, a US military expert said yesterday.

The missile, which has not been given an official Chinese name, appeared at the Zhuhai airshow in south China, attached to a model of the Chinese-made JH-7 fighter-bomber, also known as the "Flying Leopard."

"It's a brand-new supersonic missile, anti-ship or anti-radar, which could have a considerable range," said Richard Fisher, an expert on military affairs at Washington's Jamestown Foundation.

"It is only a model, but this is the first confirmation that this kind of program is alive and making progress," he said. "I would be worried if I was in Taiwan."

He said that because the missile is super-sonic, it can not be destroyed in flight and appears primarily aimed at destroying radars, which form Taiwan's first line of defense.

The missile would be easily able to traverse the Taiwan Straits, which separates the mainland from the island, he said.

"For people in charge of deterrence in the Taiwan Straits, this is a big problem," he said.

He said the fact that the missile appears at an international air show indicates China also plans to export this technology to other countries.

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