Taiwan's military said it mistakenly fired a supersonic anti-ship missile Friday that hit a fishing boat, killing one and injuring three people, on the day rival China was celebrating the Communist Party's anniversary. “The Taiwanese side must explain to us what was going on in a responsible matter,” said the mainland’s Taiwan affairs chief, Zhang Zhijun. The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said that the incident further strained “already tense ties with the mainland.”
Taiwan quickly apologized for the mistake. “The Ministry of National Defense sincerely apologizes for the incident that caused the death of the captain (of the boat) and injured other crew members,” Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-Chi said in a news conference. The missile, however, did not pass the mid-course line of the Taiwan Strait, which meant that it was not aimed at Fujian, China, located less than 200 miles from Taiwan.
However, complicating matters, the missile, the Hsiung Fen III, has a range of 300 kilometers, and was developed to counter threats from mainland China. Just a few days earlier, Taiwan said on Monday that it planned to test fire its newest anti-ship missile for the first time in early July at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Reports said that the test will be conducted in the U.S. to avoid China collecting sensitive information about the weapon.