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Beijing urged to cherish peace in Taiwan Strait

ROC Central News Agency

2018/08/17 16:57:09

Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) Taiwan called on Beijing Friday to cherish the hard-earned peace and stability between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and in the region.

It is Taiwan and China's "joint duty and goal" to maintain cross-strait peace and stability and protect the people's welfare, said Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明), urging Beijing to make contributions to cross-strait and regional peace and well-being.

The call was made after the United States published its 2018 China Military Power Report, which describes the current status and development of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces and also provides analysis of China's strategy in the Taiwan Strait.

The report indicates that over the past three years the PLA has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, likely training for strikes against U.S. and allied targets in the Pacific region.

It also said China continues to develop and deploy advanced military capabilities needed for a "potential military campaign" in the strait.

Taiwan's government has noticed the U.S. Department of Defense's concern with China's military preparations in the region, Lin said, and Taiwan's military closely monitors China's military actions to maintain the country's security, Lin said.

The Ministry of Defense, meanwhile, pledged its determination to fight enemies, reflected by a 5.6 percent year-on-year increase in the general defense budget for fiscal year 2019.

The U.S. report published Thursday said China continues to adopt a strategy incorporating elements of both persuasion and coercion to hinder the development of political attitudes in Taiwan favoring independence.

China has never denounced the use of military force on Taiwan, the report said, noting that the options the PLA could adopt for a Taiwan campaign include an air and maritime blockade, a full-scale amphibious invasion, and operations to seize and occupy some or all of Taiwan or its offshore islands.

The report also said that while Taiwan is taking steps to compensate for the growing disparities, they only partially address Taiwan's declining defensive advantages at a time when China's official defense budget has grown to roughly 15 times that of Taiwan.

(By Claudia Liu and Elizabeth Hsu)

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