Beijing, July 1 (IANS) Taiwan on Friday “accidentally” fired a supersonic missile towards China as the ruling Communist Party celebrated its 95th birthday on the mainland.
The “accidental launch” of the Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missile occurred at a naval base in Kaohsiung, south of Taiwan.
“The missile was launched by operational error. We are investigating the case,” South China Morning Post quoted Taiwan’s Vice-Admiral Mei Chia-hsu as saying.
Mei told a press conference that the navy had reported the incident to the island’s Defence Ministry, which would handle the case accordingly.
Mei clarified that the missile did not pass the mid-course line of the Taiwan Strait.
It meant that the missile could have landed in Fujian, a bordering province in China.
Mei said the Chinchiang (PCG-610) patrol ship was undergoing a drill inspection when officers failed to follow standard operating procedures and launched the missile by mistake.
“It did not cause any injury,” Mei told a news conference after the navy headquarters clarified that the launch was accidental.
The incident could ratchet up tensions between China and Taiwan after the China-sceptic Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-Wen was voted to power in the island, which Beijing claims as its part.
Bejing was infuriated when Tsai did not endorse the concept of a single Chinese nation.
On Friday, Taiwan found mention in the speech of Chinese President Xi Jinping on the 95th anniversary of the Communist Party of China.
“We firmly oppose the ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist activities,” Xi said at Bejing’s Great Hall of People.
“More than 1.3 billion Chinese people and the whole Chinese nation will by no means tolerate secessionist activities by any person, at any time and in any form,” he said.
(Gaurav Sharma is Beijing-based correspondent of IANS. He can be reached at [email protected])