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#3053 2008-08-18 GMT-5 hours    

Taiwan's military said Thursday it is testing a smart bomb that could destroy the runways of air bases along the south-east coast of China.

The military stressed it has no immediate plan to put the weapon, a Taiwanese version of the AGM-154 US Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), into mass production.

'The Wan Chien cluster bomb is in the testing and inspection phase and far from being in mass production. Actually, we have yet to make any decision on whether to mass produce it or not,' said Major General Lisa Chi, spokeswoman for the defence ministry.

Her comments came after a warplane fan posted on the internet a photo of a Taiwanese fighter carrying two of the bombs during a training exercise. The smart bomb contains 100 bomblets designed to crater runways.

China and Taiwan have been bitter rivals since the two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949.

Taiwanese military experts said the development of the smart bomb is aimed at sending a message to China that the island would be able to counteract its air force in the event of an attack.

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