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Taiwan's missile test fizzles

world Updated: Jan 18, 2011 11:25 IST

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has presided over the unusually public test firing of 17 surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles.

But several missed their targets, earning Ma's dismay, and raising new questions about Taiwan's readiness to defend itself against Chinese attack.

Tuesday's exercise followed last week's successful test flight of China's J-20 stealth aircraft, a system expected to further widen its edge over Taiwan's own equipment-starved air force.

Ma's presence at the base in southern Taiwan where the missile test was conducted was meant to underscore his commitment to the maintenance of an effective Taiwanese deterrent. But he told reporters he was "not satisfied with the results." China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949.