Beijing: A Chinese guided-missile destroyer was detected in the danger zone of Taiwan's missile tests several hours before the drills began, Taiwan's official Central News Agency (CNA) reported on Friday, citing an unnamed military source.
In July, state-owned weapons developer and manufacturer, National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), said that it would conduct missile tests on August 18-19 and August 25-26 from the Jiupeng base in Pingdong province in the south of the island.
The projectiles would be fired to the east and northeast of the coastal waters of Taitung county. The NCSIST flagged a 200-kilometer strip extending from the coast of the province as a danger zone, but did not specify any altitude limit. Although the institute did not disclose what rockets were supposed to be tested, there were speculations that Taiwan would test the Hsiung Sheng cruise missiles, the CNA reported.
Taiwan successfully launched rockets from the Jiupeng base and from the coastal town of Chenggong in Taitung county on 8:40 p.m. local time (12:35 GMT) on Thursday. The projectiles were discharged above the waters between the Green and the Orchid islands.
A Navy source told the media on condition of anonymity that a guided-missile destroyer of the Chinese People's Liberation Army was spotted 61 kilometers to the northeast of Green island, within the danger zone, just hours before the tests began.
The NCSIST is one of the two major defense contractors of the self-governed island, actively involved in the development, manufacturing and sale of defense systems and weapons.
Taiwan became alienated from Beijing after becoming a stronghold of the Chinese Nationalist Party (the Kuomintang) that suffered defeat to the Communist Party in a civil war in 1949. The Chinese mainland and the island resumed business and informal contacts in the late 1980s. Beijing opposes any official contacts of foreign countries with Taiwan and considers Chinese sovereignty over the island indisputable.
(With UNI inputs)