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NO SPECIAL DEPLOYMENT OF MAINLAND TROOPS OBSERVED: DEFENSE MINISTER

2004-03-19 22:13:40

    Taipei, March 19 (CNA) There have been no special movements of communist Chinese troops based in mainland China's southeastern coastal regions and the Republic of China military is fully prepared to tackle all possible scenarios, Minister of National Defense Tang Yiau-min said Friday.

    Tang made the remarks following a meeting called by the National Security Council, which was attended by chiefs of all relevant government agencies after President Chen Shui-bian survived a gun shot earlier the same day during a campaign activity in southern Tainan City.

    With just one night left before the presidential vote on Saturday, the defense ministry will continue monitoring the deployment of mainland Chinese troops and all levels of the ROC military are in full preparedness, he said, adding that vigilance in key areas is on high alert to confront all possible situations. Tang urged the public to stay calm.

    The military is working around the clock to safeguard air and coastal security in the Taiwan Strait, defense ministry spokesman Huang Suey-sheng said.

    In line with the special mechanisms launched by the military, the Coast Guard Administration has also set up an emergency task force that will monitor the situations along Taiwan's coasts around the clock, a spokesman said.

    Coast guardsmen have been ordered to keep a close tap on offshore situations, especially regarding those cases when mainland Chinese fishing ships or vessels get together off Taiwan's coasts, while patrols at sea ports, important traffic spots and nearby key facilities will be increased and upgraded to prevent terrorist actions or incidents.

    President Chen already left Chi Mei Medical Center in Tainan County for Taipei on the presidential plane at around 7:10 p.m. after receiving a treatment there. He was shot during a campaign activity to solicit votes in an open care while riding along the Wenhsien Road in Tainan City. Vice President Annett Lu received a minor injury to her right knee.

(By Flor Wang)

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