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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

No letup in Chinese drills simulating Taiwan attack: ex-official

Central News Agency

2011/08/25 20:29:19

By Chen Hung-chin and Sofia Wu

Taipei, Aug. 25 (CNA) Despite showing goodwill and friendliness in economic and cultural exchanges with Taiwan, China has never ceased its military exercises simulating attacks on Taiwan, former Deputy Defense Minister Lin Chong-pin said Thursday.

Lin made the remarks a day after the U.S. Department of Defense released its annual report on military and security developments in China that says Beijing has not slowed its efforts to expand its military options to deny allied intervention in the Taiwan Strait, despite improvements in cross-strait ties in recent years.

While briefing reporters on the Pentagon report to be delivered to the U.S. Congress, Michael Schiffer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, also said that over the past year, China has continued to beef up its naval and aerial combat arsenal, including extending the range of its jet fighters and updating its submarines and surface warships, as well as conducting sea trials of its first aircraft carrier.

According to Schiffer, the pace and scope of China's sustained military investments have allowed the country to pursue capabilities that the Pentagon believes are potentially destabilizing to regional military balances and increase the risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations.

"None of the developmanets mentioned in the Pentagon report are new," Lin said, adding that China has consistently adopted a two-pronged strategy toward Taiwan.

In terms of its "hard" approach, Lin said, China has accelerated its military modernization. In addition to deploying short-range ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan, the People's Liberation Army has never stopped drills simulating attacks on Taiwan proper and its outlying islands, cities and airports.

"Since 2004, the mainland military has refrained from conducting military exercises in its southeastern coastal areas opposite Taiwan, instead staging drills in the Chinese hinterland... While they do not hype their live-fire drills, neither have they ever suspended them," said Lin, who is now a professor at Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies.

Moreover, he went on, China has spared no efforts to develop electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, which do not cause human casualties but disable electronic communication and command systems.

"Beijing's top goal is to paralyze Taiwan rather than destroy it," Lin noted, adding that the ultimate goal of Beijing's military hardware development and training drills is to prevent the United States from taking control of Taiwan.

As for China's so-called "soft" approach, Lin said it has become increasingly evident that Beijing is attempting to dominate and control East Asia without resorting to war and is pursuing a "supra-military" strategy to unify Taiwan through economic, cultural, diplomatic and political means.

According to him, resorting to force is the worst and least likely option Beijing would adopt toward Taiwan for the moment. "At present, Beijing's strategy is to embrace Taiwan like an attractive bride... Given Taiwan's economic strength, use of force by China against Taiwan would be like killing the goose that lays golden eggs," Lin noted.

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