Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Kao backs putting missiles on Taiping

By Rich Chang  /  Staff Reporter

Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) yesterday said his ministry supported a plan to deploy missiles on Taiping Island (太平島) in the South China Sea.

Kao made the remarks at the legislature’s Diplomacy and National Defense Committee, where Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) called for the strengthening of the military presence on the island.

Coast Guard Administration personnel have been stationed on Taiping since the marines pulled out in 1999, but legislators have asked the government to expand defense capabilities there.

Lin said territorial claims over the area by neighboring countries have grown louder recently. Vietnam could expand its Su-27SK and Su-30MK2 aircraft to 24 or even 36, with operational ranges of between 1,500km and 3,000km. This poses a serious threat to the defense arrangements on Taiping, Lin said.

The military has the obligation to help the coast guard defend Taiping, Lin said, asking whether Kao supported the deployment of air defense systems on the island.

“If the coast guard considered it necessary to strengthen defense deployment, the ministry would give its full support,” Kao said.

“Would it be possible to deploy the Tien Chien I ‘Sky Sword’ (天劍一, TC-1) or the M48A2 Chaparral on land?” Lin asked.

Kao said if the coast guard needed any weapon systems, it could earmark a budget to procure them from the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology, and the military would cooperate with the procurement. The M48A2 missiles are old, so the Antelope would be more appropriate, he said.

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