Thu, Dec 25, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Defense minister rejects testing of missiles in US

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan does not intend to test-fire its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles in the US, Minister of National Defense Yen Ming (嚴明) said during a legislative committee meeting yesterday.

The ministry has no plans to allocate funds for test-firing the missiles, he said in response to questions posed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) at a hearing of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Saying that Taiwan has not test-fired any of the US-made PAC-3 missiles, Lin said the military had asked him to convey to the US its wish to have the weapons tested after their arrival in Taiwan.

However, Washington responded that all countries that buy its PAC-3 missiles are required to use a site in the state of New Mexico if they wish to conduct test-firing, Lin said, adding that the US charges US$4 million for the test.

In response, Yen said that the Ministry of National Defense has to consider whether it is necessary to spend so much money for a missile test, given the size of the country’s defense budget.

At the moment, Taiwan has no plans to request a test of the PAC-3s in the US, he said.

Weapons that are saleable have a certain degree of reliability and the arms sales contracts usually include a record of the weapons’ tests, the minister said.

In January 2010, the US approved an arms sale to Taiwan that included 114 PAC-3 missiles.

Meanwhile, Yen said that the navy has taken delivery of its first locally designed stealth missile corvette, the Tuo Jiang (沱江), which is expected to enhance the nation’s anti-ship defenses capabilities.

He also said the government is still on track to acquire two Perry-class frigates, a sale that was recently approved by the US.

That plan has not changed, he said when asked by Lin if the acquisition of the Perry-class frigates from the US would squeeze Taiwan’s budget for more locally made 500-tonne corvettes.

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