China Prepares to Use Force on Taiwan

ÁÎ×Ó¹â Henry C.K.Liu ¹ù¤l¥ú hliu at
Sun May 14 16:56:22 MDT 2000

SCMP  Saturday, May 13, 2000

             STAFF REPORTERS

             President Jiang Zemin has warned generals
             they were "overconfident" in suggesting total
             victory over Taiwan could be secured in less
             than 24 hours.

             Mr Jiang was in Shanghai and neighbouring
             cities for much of the week-long Labour Day
             holiday to discuss Taiwan strategy in the
             run-up to the inauguration of Taiwan
             president-elect Chen Shui-bian next Saturday.

             A Beijing source said yesterday Mr Jiang had
             given instructions on both "verbal intimidation
             and preparations for the use of force".

             In strategy sessions in Shanghai, the President,
             also chairman of the Central Military
             Commission, went over military plans. "We
             must only fight a war we are sure to win," Mr
             Jiang reportedly said. "We must overwhelm
             our enemies with clear-cut superiority [in
             weapons and troop strength]."

             Mr Jiang reportedly told a couple of generals
             they were "over-confident" in suggesting
             victory could be achieved in less than a day. A
             senior Jiang aide also said in the Shanghai
             meetings that PLA strategists must study in
             detail American actions in Iraq and Kosovo.

             The Beijing source said Mr Jiang's discussions
             were with his civilian advisers as well as senior
             generals from headquarters and from the
             regions - particularly the Nanjing Military
             Region which oversees Taiwan.

             Mr Jiang and his aides agreed on the "toughest
             response" should Mr Chen refuse to heed
             demands that he recognise the "one China"
             principle in his inauguration speech, the source

             "Propaganda organs are drafting editorials and
             commentaries attacking Mr Chen should he
             fail to make a concession," the source said.
             "Jiang laid down the spirit of such pieces."

             A military source said while most PLA officers
             wanted speedy action against Taiwan, Mr
             Jiang and his Politburo colleagues favoured
             making a final decision after China's accession
             to the World Trade Organisation.

             The generals told their commander-in-chief
             that most preparations for "liberation" were
             complete. Military analysts said the generals
             told Mr Jiang they had trouble "cooling" the
             rank and file, who wanted immediate action
             after the inauguration. The analysts said that
             even though the Politburo did not favour a war
             this year, military manoeuvres more
             provocative than those of 1996 might be
             staged should Mr Chen fail to compromise.

             Troops along the Fujian coast have been put
             on alert in the run-up to the inauguration. The
             analysts said it was expected large-scale
             training and troop movements would continue
             in several coastal provinces and cities for the
             rest of the year.

             Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan
             said yesterday Beijing would only talk to the
             Chen administration if the new government
             recognised the "one China" principle.

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