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BEIJING WILL NOT MAKE MILITARY MOVE AROUND MAY 20: MND

2004-05-19 16:56:25

    Taipei, May 19 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) believes that mainland China will probably not take any military action to intimidate Taiwan around May 20, when President Chen Shui-bian will be sworn in for another four-year term, an MND official said Wednesday.

    Fei Houng-po, vice chief of the General Staff, made the remarks when he reported on security in the Taiwan Strait at the National Defense Committee at the Legislative Yuan.

    Fei's words came shortly after Beijing issued a sternly worded statement Monday in which it urged Taiwan to embrace the "one China" principle so as to start cross-strait dialogue and warned Chen not to "play with fire" by going down the road of independence.

    Fei reported that overall, the ministry has yet to detect any specific activities or abnormal movements on the part of the mainland military.

    Moreover, he noted that mainland Chief of the General Staff Liang Guanglie is currently on a four-country tour of Europe, including France, Britain, Romania and Russia, and that it is unlikely Beijing will launch an attach when its top military leader is overseas.

    Looking ahead, Fei said that unless the cross-strait situation gets out of hand, Beijing will probably revise or formulate new strategy on Taiwan under the "one China" principle.

    If Beijing insists on formulating a proposed "unification law, " to counter the Taiwan Relations Act, under which the United States is obligated to supply defensive weapons to Taiwan, and Taiwan leans toward writing a new constitution and independence, it will create new factors for the triangular relations between Washington, Beijing and Taipei.

    He claimed that at present, the Taiwan Strait is "very safe" and that only routine mainland military drills have been detected.

    However, asked whether it is possible that mainland military aircraft will fly over the mid-point of the Taiwan Strait in order to provoke Taiwan, he said that "the MND will not rule out this possibility."

    But he said that the MND estimates that Beijing will make no provocative actions this year, adding that the cross-strait military situation is similar to that of four years ago and is not especially tense.

(By Lilian Wu)

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