Taiwan yesterday said it was justified in purchasing U.S. missile defense technology and urged China to remove more than 1,000 missiles trained on the island, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Jan. 7).
While Taiwan has an autonomous government, Beijing claims the island-state as its territory and has threatened to use force should it pursue formal independence.
"The arms buildup is necessary for our national defense. Furthermore, it would make Taiwan have more confidence in pursuing negotiations and exchanges with the Chinese mainland," Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said in response to a Chinese statement yesterday denouncing any Taiwanese weapons acquisitions.
The Taiwanese purchase included Patriot missile defense systems and other U.S. military hardware. Lawmakers in Washington signed off on the deal in at the end of 2008, and the Defense Department last week endorsed the export of the missile defense technology (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Jan. 13).