Before an audience that included President Ma Ying-jeou, five out of 19 missiles failed to hit their targets at the Chiupeng military base in the island’s south. A sixth found its target, but did not explode.
“It’s within our predictions, but of course there’s room for improvement,” said air force Lieutenant General Pan Kung-hsiao, when asked to comment about the missiles that went astray.
Ma, however, was less forgiving, telling journalists that the military should get to the bottom of the failures.
“I’m not very satisfied,” Ma said. “Some missiles missed the targets, and we need to review whether these errors were mechanical or human. We also need to hold more drills to boost military capabilities.”
While one missile plunged almost directly into the nearby ocean, the others were near-misses, and some of them virtually scratched their targets but were still declared failures.
The missile drill at the normally tightly guarded base was the largest open to the media since Ma assumed power in 2008.
It was meant to signal Taiwan’s defence capabilities to the island’s own public just days after China unveiled the J-20, an aircraft that uses stealth technology to avoid radar detection, according to analysts.
“Taiwan wants to reassure its people at a time when China keeps developing advanced weapons such as the J-20,” said Edward Chen, a political scientist at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of American Studies.
Bill Bard says:
They got egg on their faces, should stop trying to show off.