Taiwan tested as many as 19 air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles even as Chinese President Hu Jintao was due to meet President Obama for a summit meeting.
A move dubbed as politically symbolic, Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou was present during the drill, though he was left largely unhappy as six of the missiles missed the target.
The self-governed island, which China claims as its own, has a strained relationship with mainland China. Beijing has often said it would bring Taiwan as part of the unified Chinese nation by military force if necessary.
Analysts say Taiwan's missile test just before the Hu-Obama summit could be meant to draw Washington's attention to Taipei's requests for stronger defense ties and more weapons.
In March 2009, Taiwan's parliament speaker revealed that the White House had blocked the sale of more than 60 F-16 fighter planes as Washington was wary of stepping over Beijing's toes. The U.S. doesn't want to give them to us, Wang told Reuters. They wouldn't name a price. It's mainly because mainland China would oppose the sale, he said.
However, the view that the U.S. had better sold the F-16s to Taiwan to help the country bridge its yawning security deficit with China is prevalent in Washington. In June last year, Bruce Lemkin, an ex-under secretary at the Air Force, said the U.S. was way past due to meet Taiwan's request.
India's NDTV said the missile test, which was the first in almost a decade to be held in full view of the media, left the President underwhelmed. I'm not satisfied with the results, Ma said, adding: I hope the military will find out the reasons and improve its training.
China last week ramped up its military capabilities by conducting the test flight of its advanced stealth fighter jet J-20.