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Report: Taiwan's military to build high-altitude missile defense network

Report: Taiwan's military to build high-altitude missile defense network
Taiwan’s defense ministry said a new missile defense system is being planned to respond to growing Chinese ballistic missile threats, according to a local press report on Monday. File Photo by Taiwan Presidential Office/EPA-EFE

March 15 (UPI) -- Taiwan's defense ministry publicly disclosed plans to build a high-altitude ballistic missile defense network in cooperation with the United States, according to a local press report.

United Daily News reported Monday the Taiwanese government is planning to build a new missile defense system to counter China's ballistic missile threats. The Chinese missiles the system would counter include the Dongfeng-17, a Chinese solid-fueled road-mobile medium-range ballistic missile; the Dongfeng-21, a two-stage, solid-fuel rocket, also known as the "carrier killer"; and the Dongfeng or DF-100, which was first unveiled in 2019.

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According to Taipei's military, the United States' Integrated Air and Missile Defense system is included in a "U.S.-Taiwan air defense exchange" agreement. The alleged agreement has been an important source of military cooperation between the two countries, the defense ministry said.

The report also said "military exchanges" with the United States have helped Taiwanese troops improve their surveillance, early warning and command-and-control capabilities by expanding "security cooperation" in the Indo-Pacific region.

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The statement from Taiwan comes after a report earlier this month about U.S. plans to station precision-strike missiles along the "first island chain," from Japan and Taiwan to the Philippines.

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Nikkei Asia reported on March 5 the "Pacific Deterrence Initiative" of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command will cost $27.4 billion over six years.

The initiative reportedly stated the missile force should "dispense and sustain combat operations for extended periods," with year 2022 as the projected first year of operation.

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Su Tzu-yun, an associate research fellow at government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research in Taiwan, said the latest developments indicate Taipei is shifting from a policy of "strategic ambiguity" to "finite clarity" on the defense front, according to Taiwanese news services.

Reports of military developments affecting Taiwan come after the United States referred to Taiwan as a "country," breaking from past practice.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Taiwan is a "country that can contribute to the world."

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China claims Taiwan is part of Chinese sovereign territory under its "one-China policy."

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