China Said Testing Missiles in Message to Taiwan

China in recent weeks conducted a number of trial-launches of cruise and ballistic missiles in an apparent message to Taiwan, the Washington Times reported on Wednesday.

U.S. intelligence services tracked the launches of the short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles designed to strike land targets. The missile firings occurred in early September, close to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's trip to Beijing, anonymous officials told the newspaper.

Beijing claims Taiwan as its own and has warned of a strong military retaliation should the self-governing island seek to formally assert independence. Upward of 1,600 Chinese missiles are said to be aimed at the island.

The tested missiles displayed capacities to evade antimissile systems and to penetrate reinforced targets. They would be crucial in a Chinese effort to preventing the United States from intervening militarily in a conflict with allied Taiwan.

China is developing its first continent-spanning ballistic missile with the capacity to carry more than one warhead -- the Dongfeng 41. U.S. spy offices believe the ground-transportable ICBM has the capacity to be fitted with three to 10 nuclear bombs.

An unidentified State Department official said the Obama administration is "well aware of China's extensive military modernization efforts and are monitoring them closely. We remain concerned about the lack of transparency from China."

September 20, 2012
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China in recent weeks conducted a number of trial-launches of cruise and ballistic missiles in an apparent message to Taiwan, the Washington Times reported on Wednesday.