Friday, January 21, 2011

Taiwan tests missiles as U.S., China meet

Taiwan tested 19 missiles Tuesday on the eve of a summit meeting between U.S. President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, officials said.

The timing of the exercise, a day before Obama is to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington, was widely seen as coincidental, The New York Times reported.

Taiwanese government officials said the date for the missile exercise was decided on before the dates for Hu's trip were known.

Taiwan's president, Ma Ying-jeou, witnessed the exercise in which six of the 19 air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles missed their mark and was reported to be unhappy with the results. Ma urged the military to improve its training.

China, which claims Taiwan as a province, maintains hundreds of missiles aimed at the island.

In 2010, the Obama administration said it would go through with a $6 billion sale of military hardware to Taiwan promised by the George W. Bush administration, prompting China to scale back defense ties with the United States.

The summit between Obama and Hu is seen as a step in resuming those ties.

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