Strategic Weapons: Taiwan's Nuclear Missiles

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June 26, 2006: For over three years, there have been rumors that Taiwan is developing ballistic missiles, and nuclear weapons. Called the Tiching Project, it is said to be using technology used for an earlier ballistic missile program. In the 1990s, technical problems and expense convinced Taiwan to halt their Sky Horse ballistic missile program. The reasoning was that, in addition to the expense, such a program would only anger the Chinese, and that, in any event, the United States would provide Taiwan with protection from an invasion. The official cancellation of the program in 2000 was apparently not final. The Tiching Project is believed to be developing two missiles. One is a two stage, solid fuel missile, with a thousand kilometer range, carrying a 700 pound warhead. The other missile would just use the first stage, have a range of about 300 kilometers and the same size warhead. The short range version of the missile is believed to have been tested already.

The nuclear weapons program has long been rumored. As long ago as the 1970s, the CIA declared that Taiwan could build nuclear weapons within five years. Since then, the time required has shrunk. Actually, the high quality of Taiwan's industrial and scientific capabilities indicates that nuclear weapons may already exist, but remain untested.

Naturally, Taiwan has good reason to keep all this sort of stuff secret. If they openly admitted to owning ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, China might, because of constant threats to "return Taiwan to Chinese control", feel compelled to do something drastic, and immediately. But ultimately, Taiwanese nuclear weapons, delivered by ballistic missiles, could provide the cheapest and most effective defense against Chinese invasion.

 


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