Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) dismissed as "mere speculation" Tuesday a media report that the government has decided to terminate efforts to develop a medium-range surface-to-surface guided missile as a goodwill gesture to China.
The ministry had no further comment on the report due to the sensitivity of the issue involved, MND spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said.
The "Yun Feng" missile development project was reportedly launched by the state-run Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology during the administration of former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) (1988-2000), after China fired missiles near Taiwan in 1996.
The project, which continued during former President Chen Shui-bian's term, was suspended after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008, and now the new administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has decided to have it terminated to show goodwill to Beijing, according to Taiwan's China Times.
The missile would be capable of hitting Beijing and Shanghai, the paper said.
Commenting on the issue, opposition Kuomintang Legislator Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) said the new government probably thinks that the "Yun Feng" missile is unnecessary because it can be replaced by the Hsiungfeng 2E cruise missile, and that terminating its development can prevent cross-strait military confrontation and tension.
(By Wang Cheng-chung and Y.F. Low)ENDITEM/J