Taiwan pulls controversial missile from parade -source

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TAIPEI, Oct 9 (Reuters) Taiwan won't display a never-before-seen long-range missile capable of striking Shanghai at its national day parade, the first in 16 years to feature troops and military hardware, a senior officer said today.

The defence ministry, however, reaffirmed its commitment to boost spending to counter the growing threat from Beijing, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunited by force if necessary.

Earlier reports said the Taiwan military would show off the new surface-to-surface missile -- capable of hitting targets as distant as Shanghai -- in the National Day parade set for tomorrow.

But now the military has decided not to display the Hsiung Feng IIE, or ''Brave Wind'', which analysts believe is designed to carry out retaliatory strikes against targets in China, said a senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Defence Minister Lee Tien-yu was quoted by the state-run Central News Agency as saying the missile was still in the developmental stage and not ready for display.

The latest news had come amid heightened tension between democratically ruled Taiwan and China, which have lived in a state of military preparedness since 1949 when the Chinese Nationalist government lost the civil war to the Communists and fled to the island.

This year's national day celebrations in Taipei will be the first in 16 years to feature a parade of military hardware and troops, reminiscent of Soviet-style displays during the Cold War.

Taiwan has been pushing ahead with development of missiles to ward off the growing threat from China's massive military buildup and has taken steps to boost defence spending.

Lee was quoted as saying that the military's defence budget in 2008 would account for 3 per cent of Taiwan's GDP next year, compared to this year's 2.69 per cent.


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