Taiwan tested its longest range ship-to-ship missile within a month of China putting its first aircraft carrier into service, a report said today.

Dubbed an “aircraft carrier killer”, the missile has a range of 400 kilometres (250 miles) and is capable of achieving Mach 3.0, or triple the speed of sound, the Taipei-based United Daily News said.

“The Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology finished a series of tests off Taiwan last month,” it said, in reference to Taiwan’s arms development unit.

“No ship is capable of withstanding its high-velocity impact,” the paper quoted an unnamed military source as saying.

Taiwan’s defence ministry declined to comment on the report.

The missile was described as a long-range variant of the Hsiung Feng III, already installed on Taiwanese frigates and missile boats and designed to achieve Mach 2.0 with a range of up to 130 kilometres (80 miles).

China put its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, into service last month.

The Pentagon said the ship, a refurbished Soviet vessel, was the first step towards a future fleet of carriers expected to be built domestically in coming years.

Ties between China and Taiwan have improved significantly since the Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou became the island’s president in 2008, vowing to adopt a non-confrontational policy towards the mainland. Ma was re-elected in January for a second and last four-year term.

But China still regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, although the island has governed itself since the two sides separated in 1949 after a long civil war.

(This article was published on November 12, 2012)
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