China May Launch Missile Ahead of Taiwanese Presidential Polling

China could launch an anti-aircraft carrier ballistic missile into the Pacific Ocean in the days leading up to next month's Taiwanese presidential polling in a tactic intended to pressure voters to not support the more pro-independence candidate, Taiwan News reported on Wednesday (see GSN, Oct. 19).

The People's Liberation Army could launch the Dongfeng 21D missile on Jan. 11 as a reminder to Taiwanese voters of China's superior military strength, according to a report in Defense News. Taiwan is a self-governing island but claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory.

Incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou favors building closer cross-straits ties with China while his challenger, Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, supports more distance from China. Recent polling shows Tsai is closing the electoral divide with Ma.

China has unsuccessfully tried using missiles to intimidate Taiwanese voters before, according to the report. Missile trials launches in the days ahead of the island's March 1996 presidential elections saw voters respond by returning then-President Lee Teng-hui to office -- the opposite of what Beijing had hoped would happen (Taiwan NewsDec. 14).

 

December 14, 2011
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China could launch an anti-aircraft carrier ballistic missile into the Pacific Ocean in the days leading up to next month's Taiwanese presidential polling in a tactic intended to pressure voters to not support the more pro-independence candidate, Taiwan News reported on Wednesday .