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Friday, 16 March, 2001, 13:04 GMT
China builds new missile base
China missile
China's missile build-up has alarmed Taiwan
China has built a second medium-range missile base close to Taiwan, according to US officials.

The news comes as the Bush administration considers its annual arms sales list to Taiwan, a decision that always provokes tension with Beijing.

The Washington Times said a US spy satellite had detected the new base near Xianyou in south-east Fujian province, about 216 km from Taiwan.

destroyer
Taiwan wants to buy US destroyers
It said some 100 CSS-7 short range ballistic missiles were deployed there.

The report was confirmed by an official in the Bush administration. ''It has been there now for only a few short months,'' he told Reuters news agency.

''It is the second such base. The missiles are positioned obviously and intentionally so they could be used against Taiwan.''

The Washington Times said another CSS-7 base in Fujian province had been completed last year near Yongan.

Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province that must be united with the mainland. It has said it would invade if the island declared independence.

Arms sales

Taipei warned Beijing on Friday that it faced "grave" consequences if it used force against the island.

Taiwanese Premier Chang Chun-hsiung said mainland China's missile build-up would justify Taipei's need to purchase advanced defensive weapons from the US.

Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the US is required to make available sufficient arms to allow the island to defend itself.

Taiwan's current wish list includes Aegis destroyers, which cost almost $1bn each, and advanced anti-missile systems.

Beijing warned Washington not to go ahead with the sale of sophisticated destroyers and missiles to Taiwan, saying it would cause "serious dangers".

The matter is likely to come up when President George W. Bush meets China's top foreign policy official, Vice-Premier Qian Qichen, in Washington next week.

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See also:

15 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
US warns China on missile build-up
14 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China warns against US missile defence
13 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
US report urges Taiwan arms sales
06 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China warns Bush over Taiwan
21 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
Q&A: Taiwan's relations with China
06 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Military funding reflects China's fears
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