The Taiwanese navy has accidentally fired a supersonic anti-missile just as China marks an event to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the inception of the Communist Party. The missile was aborted mid-air and landed in the waters off Penghu islands, yet, it is bound to ruffle Beijing's sensitive feathers.
The Hsiung Feng III missile, which has a strike range of about 300km, was fired from a 500-tonne patrol vessel Chinchiang (PGG-610) while it was undergoing inspection. The Taiwanese navy said mainland China's defence ministry has been notified of the incident and added Taipei is investigating the matter. The missile, which can technically reach mainland China, did not cause any damage.
"[The missile] was launched by operational error. We are investigating the case," said Vice Admiral Mei Chia-hsu, according to the South China Morning Post. The incident has occurred when the country's recently installed President Tsai Ing-wen is on a foreign trip.
Beijing considers Taiwan a part of its sovereign territory and any attempts to gain full independence is confronted with a sharp rebuke from China. The country has also not ruled out a potential military invasion if Taipei embarks on declaring independence. Tensions have only escalated in the past few weeks after Tsai, Taiwan's first women president, failed to openly declare allegiance to China.