RUSSIA-CHINA MILITARY EXERCISE A PRETEXT TO SUPPRESS TAIWAN: ENVOY
ROC Central News Agency
Moscow, Aug. 19 (CNA) Beijing seems to be attempting to use the current Russia-China joint military exercise as a pretext to suppress Taiwan, although it describes the war game as "anti-terrorist and peace-keeping" maneuvers, the Republic of China's top envoy to Russia said Friday.
Chen Rong-jye, Taiwan's representative to Russia, made the comments in an interview with the Central News Agency.
The eight-day exercises started Thursday and involve some 10,000 troops from air, sea and land. They are designed to test the ability of the two countries in the fight against terrorism and separatism.
According to Chen, the drills are not expected to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, but he warned that all countries concerned should avoid escalating tensions in the region by restraining themselves from taking any irrational actions.
Now is not the right time for Beijing and Moscow to hold such exercises, known as "Peace Mission 2005, " as China has just passed its Anti-Secession Law targeting Taiwan, and the European Union has still been discussing whether it should lift its arms sales ban on China, he said, adding that it seems that Beijing is attempting to relate Taiwan to "terrorism" and "separatism, " as well as practicing an invasion of the island by taking part in the exercises.
Pointing out that Russia and China have established a legal basis for them to build a strategic and cooperation partnership since they signed a cooperation treaty in 2001, the envoy said that as a result, military relations between the two countries, including arms sales and military high-tech exchanges and joint military exercises, have particularly been strengthened. "This has also caused concerns in the international community and neighboring countries in particular, " he added.
Commenting on recent media reports that the drills are aimed at Taiwan, Chen said that Beijing seems to use the war games on the Shandong peninsula to reinforce its ability should conflict break out across the Strait.
China also wants to give a warning to Japan and the United States by expanding its navy's "action area" to the region close to the seaboard of Japan, he continued, noting that the selections of scenario and places of the war games can hardly make people turn a blind eye to the drills that are believed to target certain countries in the region.
Saying that Russia wants to lure Chinese buyers by showing its high-tech and modern arms equipment, including T-22 M3, T-95 MS and long-range strategic bombers in the exercises, Chen said that China also wants to use the drills to strengthen its relations with Russia as well as increase its military influence in Central Asia and accumulate experience of holding joint military exercises with Russian troops.
Although a high-ranking Russian defense official has reiterated that the exercises are not aimed at any third country, including Taiwan, Chen, however, said that many media reports have said the exercises are to defy the United States, Japan and Taiwan. "A Russian newspaper even said frankly that the exercises are targeting the island, " he added.
Some Russian analysts consider that the refusal of the Russian government to launch its joint military exercises with China off the area near the Taiwan Strait clearly shows that Moscow does not want to see the war games used by China as an instrument to obstruct Taiwan, he continued.
(By H.K.Chang and P.C.Tang)
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