On the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Taiwanese navy fired a supersonic missile in China’s direction.
Navy officials say that the explosive b-day gift was an accident. “The missile was launched by operational error. We are investigating the case,” said Vice-Admiral Mei Chia-hsu at a press conference earlier today.
The Hsiung Feng II supersonic anti-ship missile, launched from a warship at a naval base in Kaohsiung, didn’t pass the mid-course line of the Taiwan Strait, flying 75km before landing in the waters off the Taiwanese-administered island group of Penghu, Focus Taiwan News reports.
Mei went on to explain that officers had failed to follow standard operating procedures during a drill inspection and launched the missile accidentally at around 8:10 a.m. this morning. Mei added that a further investigation was underway.
That investigation has already revealed that the missile hit a 60-tonne fishing boat, the “Hsian Li Sheng,” killing its skipper and injuring three other crew members on board, including a Vietnamese and Filipino, said Taiwan’s defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi. “We apologize to the family of the skipper and would like to convey our condolences to them,” Chen said, according to Channel News Asia.
The Hsiung Feng II is one of many missiles pointed by either side across the Taiwan Strait. It is an “aircraft carrier killer” with a range of 300km, enough to reach China.
The accidental launch comes at an anxious time for cross-strait relations. Earlier this week, Beijing stopped all communication with the main Taiwan liaison office over new Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to endorse the concept of a single Chinese nation since her inauguration in May. With all diplomatic avenues closed, how else to wish the CPC a happy birthday?