Monday, October 17, 2011

Philippines airs concerns over Taiwanese missile plan

Washington also weighed in on Friday, cautioning all claimants to the disputed islets to avoid sparking an arms race and to resolve the disputes in accordance with international law

A Philippine military spokesman yesterday said alleged plans by the Taiwanese military to deploy surface-to-air missiles on Taiping Island (太平島) in the South China Sea could fuel tensions in the region and be seen as an act of aggression by other claimants to a series of disputed islets.

Calling the move “unsettling” and “uncalled for,” Philippine Defense Department spokesman Zosimo Paredes said how other countries in the region would react to what he saw as an “out of the ordinary” move by Taiwan remained to be seen.

Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) on Wednesday gave signs he supported a proposal by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) at the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to deploy the Air Force’s Antelope air defense system — a derivative of the indigenous Tien Chien I “Sky Sword” (天劍一, TC-1) air-to-air missile used on the CK-1 Indigenous Defense Fighter — or the US-made M48A2 “Chaparral” on Taiping.

Paredes, who said Manila was prepared to “defend to the hilt” islets it already occupied in the Spratly Islands (南沙群島), nevertheless attempted to play down the significance of the news.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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