SCMP on Current China Situation

Jay Moore research at
Fri May 19 06:58:16 MDT 2000

Beijing urges calm on Chen
South China Morning Post
May 19, 2000

Beijing has appealed to students and soldiers to remain calm if Taiwan
president-elect Chen Shui-bian fails to declare support for the "one-China"
principle in his inauguration speech tomorrow.

A Communist Party source said yesterday the leadership had postponed a
decision on whether to use force against Taiwan until the end of the year.
But Beijing would step up its psychological warfare by staging war games
along the coast if Mr Chen was seen as "going further and further away from
the 'one-China' principle".
The source said the party had sent a circular to campuses urging students
not to demonstrate this weekend.

"Have faith in central authorities' ability to solve the Taiwan problem," it
said. "Stay in unison with the leadership at all times." Another message was
relayed to the PLA rank and file telling them they must not be "impetuous"
in dealing with Taiwan.

It is understood students and soldiers were told Beijing would watch Mr Chen
after his inauguration to see if he would honour the "one-China" principle.
"However, this period will be short, and the PLA's preparation for a
possible military solution continues," the party source added.

An army source said "multi-dimensional war games" would be held along the
coast if Mr Chen did not mention the "one-China" principle at all in his
speech. "The manoeuvres will consist of a full range of exercises involving
missiles, jet fighters, submarines and amphibious forces."

The mainland media yesterday warned Mr Chen any move towards independence
would mean war. A full page of photos in the Liberation Army Daily showed
undated air, ground and missile exercises in the "Nanjing military region",
which is responsible for the Taiwan area. It quoted General Zhang Wannian,
Central Military Commission vice-chairman, as saying: "We have the
determination, confidence, capability and appropriate means to realise the
complete reunification of the motherland."

Mr Chen hinted yesterday he would stick to a "centrist" or middle road while
dealing with the mainland. "Taiwan believes the best national policies are
new centrist policies. These [policies mean] following a centrist path, not
leaning to one side and not favouring extremes."

Mr Chen appealed to Beijing to heed the voice of reason. "Communist China
may be big but it must be reasonable," he said. 'Taiwan may be small but we
possess the truth."

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