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ROC Central News Agency

2005-08-23 23:33:49

    Taipei, Aug. 23 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) will join the government's fight against what it claims is China's "charm offensive" targeting Taiwan's farmers by opening its market to Taiwan fruit, according to Gen. Hu Cheng-pu, chief of the department of political warfare under the MND.

    Hu told journalists while accompanying President Chen Shui-bian on a visit to the frontline island of Kinmen Tuesday that his department was asked by lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to help with the government's efforts in trying to persuade local farmers that China is not a lucrative market for Taiwan's agricultural products.

    Noting that the MND has engaged in political warfare against China for more than five decades, the DPP lawmakers said their experience will be invaluable for the government in "exposing Beijing's lies" about offering Taiwan fruit duty-free access to the Chinese market.

    Hu confirmed news reports that he had visited Council of Agriculture head Lee Ching-lung and Joseph Wu, chief of the Mainland Affairs Council, the two Cabinet-level officials spearheading the government's efforts to woo over the farmers, to learn about the government's latest strategy on the issue and to see what the MND can do to help.

    The general said the MND has decided to ask the Youth Daily and the Voice of Han Radio -- controlled by the armed forces -- to interview officials responsible for agricultural and China affairs so that they can air the government's stance on the issue and warn the public to guard against what the government claims is China's political scheme behind its overtures to Taiwan farmers.

    As a part of the government, Hu said, the MND cannot sit on its hands while the country is taking pains to foil Beijing's scheme aimed at splitting the people of Taiwan.

    Beijing promised to open its market to Taiwan fruit in April as a gift to former Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan, who visited China at the time.

    The move alarmed the DPP, which counts Taiwan farmers among its core supporters. The DPP government has since done all it can to warn farmers of what it claimed Beijing's political motivation behind its promise.

(By Maubo Chang)



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