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August 13, 2020

Taiwan says discussing purchase of US mines, cruise missiles

World

 
August 13, 2020

WASHINGTON: Taiwan is in discussions with the United States on acquiring underwater sea mines to deter amphibious landings as well as cruise missiles for coastal defense, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to United States said on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Washington’s Hudson Institute think tank, Hsiao Bi-khim said Taiwan was facing “an existential survival issue,” given China’s territorial and sovereignty claims over the island and needed to expand its asymmetric capabilities.

“What we mean by asymmetric capabilities is cost effective, but lethal enough to become deterrence - to make any consideration of an invasion very painful,” she said.

Hsiao said Taipei was currently working with the United States on acquiring a number of hardware capabilities, including cruise missiles that would work in conjunction with Taiwan’s indigenous Hsiung Feng missile system to provide better coastal defense.

Other systems under discussion included “underwater sea mines and other capabilities to deter amphibious landing, or immediate attack,” she said. Earlier, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen told the online event she had made expanding accelerating development of Taiwan’s asymmetric defense capabilities its number-one priority.

Hsiao said Taiwan also wanted to strengthen defenses on islands its controls in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety.