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2004-05-03 18:17:11

    Taipei, May 3 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense has constantly updated its contingency measures to ensure security in the Taiwan Strait and the National Security Bureau (NSB) is fully informed of all aspects of potential moves by mainland China, a top security officer said Monday.

    Hsueh Shih-min, chief of the NSB said at the Legislative Yuan that up to the present, there has been no intelligence indicating that mainland China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been preparing a surprise attack on Taiwan.

    Despite that, Hsueh said, Taiwan's intelligence has always been watchful against any military moves of the PLA, given that Taiwan and the mainland geographically close to one another.

    Hsueh made the remarks at the Legislative Yuan National Defense Committee, where opposition Kuomintang Legislator Sun Kuo-hwa asked whether the NSB is sufficiently informed should the PLA decide to flex its muscles in the Taiwan Strait.

    Sun said the U.S. government has warned that the Chinese Communists may make some military moves in the Taiwan Strait prior to President Chen Shui-bian's inauguration on May 20, such as PLA destroyers and submarines passing through the Strait before arriving at Hong Kong.

    Responding to Sun's remarks, Hsueh said that there were eight mainland Chinese warships visiting Hong Kong, but the move was designed to celebrate the PLA's 55th anniversary and aimed at proclaiming the People's Republic of China's sovereignty over Hong Kong once again.

    Hsueh added that although there has been no intelligence showing that the PLA will show off its military prowess in the Taiwan Strait prior to May 20, the nation's defense and intelligence forces are always on the alert and are ready against any movement in the Strait.

    As casual military drills can easily turn into serious war games, Taiwan's defense and intelligence sectors cannot afford any negligence in detecting sensitive situations, Hsueh added.

    Hsueh stressed that the Ministry of National Defense has been fully prepared against all imaginable modes of a PLA attack on Taiwan.

    He added that Taiwan and the United States have maintained smooth channels for intelligence communications, although Taiwan should by no means rely on the United States' decisions and moves as Taiwan's sole source of reference.

    While maintaining independence from U.S. influence, Hsueh said, Taiwan's defense ministry has a standard operating procedure with its U.S. counterpart in regard to contingency plans over military situations in the Taiwan Strait.

(By Deborah Kuo)


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