Taiwan Planning Spy Satellite
AFP | October 11, 2005
Taiwan plans to launch a spy satellite costing 300 million dollars as a result of China's continued hostility towards the island, a newspaper reported Monday.
The satellite would be able to send clear photographs of areas less than a meter square in size, the United Daily News said.
Taiwan currently operates a research satellite designed to send photos of areas as small as two meters square which Beijing says it fears could be used for military purposes.
But Taipei insists the satellite, called Formosa II, which was launched in May in the United States, only monitors the island's land mass and surrounding waters and studies atmospheric conditions.
Taiwan launched a 15-year space program in October 1991.
Military analysts say that without its own spy satellite, Taiwan cannot establish a functional missile defence system.
China has at least 730 short-range ballistic missiles, mostly deployed in coastal provinces facing Taiwan, according to Taiwanese officials.
Since pro-independence president Chen Shui-bian was re-elected in March, Beijing has reiterated its warning to invade Taiwan should it declare formal independence
Last modified October 14, 2005