London, 10 February 1999
The London-based Financial Times reported on 10 February 1999 that
China has sharply increased its deployment of missiles aimed at
Taiwan. The move sharply increases tension in the region.
The newspaper cited military analysts in Washington who had access
to a classified Pentagon report, which stated that the Chinese had
stationed 150 to 200 M-9 and M-11 missiles in its southern regions
aimed at Taiwan.
The Financial Times quoted a senior U.S. administration official
as warning that China "couldn't assume that a continued missile
build-up in Southeast Asia will go unanswered.''
The newspaper said that the reported escalation, coming before a
planned visit to Washington in the spring by Chinese Premier Zhu
Rongji, was emerging as a serious foreign policy headache for the
It reported that it was "...causing sharp differences within
the U.S. government over an appropriate response,'' adding that the
Department of Defense was said to favor a stronger show of support
for Taiwan, but the State Department and National Security Council
feared risks to Washington's growing ''co-operative strategic
partnership'' with Beijing.
According to the report, China had 30 to 50 short-range ballistic
missiles in its southern areas in 1995-96 when it launched the M-9
missiles into waters off Taiwan, prompting President Clinton to send
two aircraft carrier task groups to the area.
The Financial Times reported that a Pentagon study in October
concluded that China was pouring resources into missile development
to improve its ability to prevail in a local conflict on its
south-eastern flank ``especially in the Taiwan Strait and South