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Missile Defense Radar Fielded in Taiwan

A $1.4 billion missile defense radar has been activated in Taiwan, Agence France-Presse reported on Sunday.

"The radar is able to provide us with more than six minutes' warning in preparation for any surprise attacks," air force Lt. Gen. Wu Wan-chiao said to the news agency.

The system, placed high on a mountain in the island state's north, can monitor incoming threats at a distance of up to 3,100 miles.

China is said to have about 1,000 ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan. It has declared the autonomously governed island to be its territory and has pledged to take military action should Taipei seek full independence.

"The system enabled Taiwan to have comprehensive surveillance controls when North Korea launched a rocket in December and the mainland tested its antimissile system lately," an unidentified armed forces official told the Liberty Times newspaper, discussing radar practice that began near the end of 2012.

"Through the sharing with the United States of the information it collects from the radar system, Taiwan becomes a critical link in the U.S. strategic defense network in the region," according to Kevin Cheng, top editor at Taipei-based Asia-Pacific Defense Magazine.

Previous reports indicated Taiwan would not share data from the radar with the United States.


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