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NO IMMEDIATE MILITARY CRISIS IN TAIWAN STRAIT: U.S. ADMIRAL

2004-04-01 21:07:15

    Washington, April 1 (CNA) The United States has been closely monitoring the situation in the Taiwan Strait and there are no signs of an immediate military crisis there, according to Adm. Thomas B. Fargo, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

    Testifying at a public hearing in the U.S. Congress Wednesday, Fargo said that there is no danger of an imminent military conflict across the strait, but pointed out that miscalculation by either Taiwan or mainland China could easily lead to a destructive crisis.

    The Taiwan Strait has become the most sensitive spot in the region and the U.S. military has maintained a close watch on the area since campaigns for Taiwan's March 20 presidential election kicked off, Fargo noted.

    He added that the U.S. Pacific Command is ready to help Taiwan defend itself at any time according to orders issued by President George W. Bush under the policy framework set up by the U.S. government's "one China" policy, the three joint communiques signed by Washington and Beijing and the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

    Asked whether the United States will move to deal with a military attack by mainland China against Taiwan should tensions between the two sides persist in the face of a continued military buildup by the mainland, Fargo said that the U.S. Pacific Command forces remain on high alert at all times because cross-strait peace and stability is of maximum importance to Washington.

    Fargo declined to say whether he feels Taiwan will declare independence but added that the United States has an obligation to help Taiwan boost its defensive capabilities in conjunction with the TRA and that this is what it is doing now.

(By Jorge Liu and Flor Wang)

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