TAIWAN is developing a missile that can strike back at China as fears mount Beijing is preparing an invasion.
The Yun Feng is able to hit major Chinese cities including – the capital Beijing – and news of its development comes as the island's President warned China was "playing with fire".
Tension has been mounting over Taiwan as China flew 149 warplanes close to the island in a massive show of force.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to reunify it with the mainland, by force if necessary.
In recent years Beijing has been developing an array of terrifying hypersonic missiles, many of them primed to blast Taiwan in the event of war.
But Taiwan has been fighting back, reportedly testing its own weapons capable of addressing the balance of firepower.
The Yun Feng – or Cloud Peak – missile will have a range of up to 1200 miles, the Center for Strategic and International Studies says.
The project is shrouded in secrecy and there were reports the missile was tested last year, though officials denied it at the time.
Now Taiwan’s defence minister Chiu Kuo-cheng has mentioned the missile during a meeting of its parliament’s National Defense Committee and Finance Committee.
Asked for details he remained tight lipped only saying military is “working on it”, the Taipei Times reports.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's President Tsai Ying-wen said China was "playing with fire" for ramping up tensions.
“Chinese aggression has severely undermined regional peace and stability,” she said at a meeting of her Democratic Progressive Party.
"I am warning the Beijing authorities to be sure to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could spark a fire."
Speaking earlier in the week, Chiu warned that Beijing would be capable of mounting an invasion in four years.
"For me as a military man, the urgency is right in front of me," he told Australia’s ABC broadcaster.
China has said its display of force was a "severe warning" to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which it accused of trying to secede from the mainland.
The state-run Global Times newspaper said the "secessionist forces" on the island would "never be allowed to secede Taiwan from China under whatever names or by whatever means".
"Now, we will like to warn the DPP authorities and their supporters: do not continue to play with fire,” it said.
Satellite images have captured J-16D planes fighter jets lined up at an eastern airbase near the hotly-disputed island in the past week.
Recent days has seen focus on the balance of power between China on the one hand and Taiwan and the US on the other.
US top-brass fear America has been left behind in the arms race with China, whose President Xi Jinping aims for a military to overtake the US by 2050.
While America has been bogged down fighting in the Middle East, the Chinese have been pouring billions into trying to steal a march on them in order to win a ‘total war’ over Taiwan.
On paper China’s military dwarfs that of Taiwan but a closer look reveals that Beijing should be wary of attempting an invasion.
Kill zone beaches, hostile terrain and a 500,000 strong guerrilla army could inflict a Vietnam War-style humiliation on Beijing.
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