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`AVOID WAR BUT BE NOT AFRAID OF WAR' -- ROC DEFENSE POLICY

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) Republic of China Vice President Lien Chan on Wednesday summed up the country's defense policy as "Avoid war but be not afraid of war."

Lien made the remark at the opening ceremony of an academic seminar on cross-century national security and military strategy sponsored by the Armed Forces University at the National Central Library.

In light of Beijing's military buildup and its hostility toward Taipei, the ROC cannot remain self-satisfied simply with the renovation of existing weapons and related outfits, Lien said.

Instead, he went on, the country's military strategy and national defense construction should be subject to appropriate adjustment according to changes in the international climate and the advancement of science and technology.

Lien stressed that the ROC should keep abreast of digital sci-tech in the development of national defense, strengthen anti-missile ability, and establish a reliable deterrent force, as well as strengthen its second-strike ability.

The ruling Kuomintang-nominated candidate for the 2000 presidential election said he favors the establishment of a militarily reciprocal trust mechanism between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait which could dissolve conflicts through communication and mutual understanding.

Lien said he also favors the establishment of a military exercise reciprocal notice and verification system across the strait, and a hot line between Taipei and Beijing in order to prevent unnecessary overreaction from either side.

As to the issue of joining a theater missile defense (TMD) system, Lien said that whether or not the ROC joins such a system in the future, it should strengthen the establishment of anti-missile advanced warning, interception and destruction systems in order to ensure national security.

Ten papers on the international situation, cross-Taiwan Strait relations, national security and national defense were presented and discussed at the one-day seminar. (By David Hsu)




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