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2004-05-18 16:20:22

    Taipei, May 18 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday a mechanism to build mutual trust between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would make cross-strait military activities transparent and avoid unnecessary clashes and conflicts across the Taiwan Strait due to misunderstandings.

    Defense ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Huang Suey-sheng was responding to a sternly worded statement issued by Beijing the previous day.

    Beijing said that if Taiwan keeps following a path to separate Taiwan from the rest of China, it will ultimately be the author of its own destruction by playing with fire. However, if Taiwan recognizes the "one-China" principle, under which Taiwan and the mainland are part of a single China, and drop independence and "separatist" activities, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait can renew negotiations, including both sides seek to build a mechanism of trust.

    Huang noted that the ministry has long attached importance to the issue of building a mechanism to increase trust between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

    He pointed out that the basic ideals of the ministry are to prevent wars, maintain stability in the Taiwan Strait and safeguard national security. "If there is such a cross-strait mechanism of trust, it will reduce the possibility of unnecessary military clashes due to misjudgment or misunderstandings, and peace and safety in the Taiwan Strait can be maintained, " he said, adding that "it will not only help peace and security in the Taiwan Strait, it will also promote stability and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific."

    On how to build such a mechanism, Huang said cross-strait issues involve many things, including political issues, and will not only be confined to the building of a mechanism of trust, adding that "the defense ministry will act in line with the government's cross-strait policy."

    In any event, Huang said that the defense ministry is abreast of military movements on the mainland and any possible scenario including an invasion of Taiwan by the mainland.

    He stressed that there is no heightening of combat readiness on the part of the mainland military at present, adding that Taiwan will only heighten its military combat readiness if there are abnormal movements on the part of the mainland.

    As for United States aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, which is maneuvering off the Philippines at a sensitive time prior to President Chen Shui-bian's inauguration Thursday for another four-year term, Huang said that the defense ministry will not comment on the military movements of the U.S. forces.

(By Lilian Wu)


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