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RIA Novosti

HONG KONG (Siangan), March 21 (From RIA Novosti's Mark Zavadsky) - Taiwan is concerned over the future Russian-Chinese joint military exercise, Lai Yichong, member of the board of directors of the Taibei-based analytical center "Taiwan", told RIA Novosti.

"This subject is not being widely discussed in society yet because attention is being focussed on 'the law on counteraction to a split of the state', adopted in China early in March, however, the expert community is actively discussing the future exercise", he said.

In his words, Taiwan sees this exercise as a threat to its security.

"Considering that Russia unreservedly supported China's adoption of 'the law on counteraction to a split of the state' the fact of holding such exercise is an alarming sign for Taiwan", he stated.

In the expert's opinion, it does not matter so much where the exercise will be held - in direct proximity to the island or off the coast of one of the provinces in Northern China.

"If the exercise is held on the coast an involves the navy, the island will see this as a rehearsal of the invasion of Taiwan," he stated.

An exercise at sea will also cause apprehensions in Japan and the USA, he stressed.

"A Russian-Chinese exercise in such format will inevitably cause concern in Japan and the US, which will make them follow the development of the situation in the Taiwan straits even more closely," he said.

The Russian-Chinese exercise is to be held in China in the autumn of 2005. The exact time and place of the exercise will be fixed in late August-early September, Russian General Staff Chief Yuri Baluyevsky, who was on an official visit to China, told the press in Beijing during the weekend.

General Baluyevsky also stressed that "this will be a large-scale exercise".

The Taiwan analytical center is considered to be one of the main brain trusts of the ruling Democratic and Progressive Party of Taiwan. Many results of its research, as wellas concepts become the foundation of the political decisions of the party and Taiwan administration head Chen Shuibian.

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