Report: China holding naval exercises in Taiwan strait
July 28, 1999
The drills, attended by senior military officials, were the second naval maneuvers reported by the domestic media since Taipei enraged Beijing earlier this month when it scrapped its "one-China" policy which has kept the peace between the two rivals for decades.
The maneuvers, organized by the navy, the general staff's mobilization department and the State Development Planning Commission, were aimed at testing military readiness along China's coast, the report said.
But Taiwan's military had noticed no such activity in the 160-km (100-mile) strait dividing the two sides, a Taiwan defense ministry official told Reuters.
'Picking up stones to smash his feet'
China views Taiwan as a wayward province that must be reunited with the mainland and reserves the right to take the island by force if it declares independence.
Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui said on July 9 Taipei's "one China" policy had been abandoned in favor of "special state-to-state" relations under which they would treat each other as equals during talks, but Beijing blasted the move as a "dangerous step down the road of separatism."
The official Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday that the chief of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) general staff had warned President Lee to immediately stop his separatist activities and said the president was "picking up stones to smash his feet."
"The PLA has the determination and strength to defend the state's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Fu Quanyou was quoted as telling a visiting Malaysian military official.
The navy's most modern training vessel, the Shichang, arrived in the southern city of Xiamen on Sunday for exercises in the Taiwan strait, the China News Service said in the report, on its Web site at www.chinanews.com.cn.
Observers included top military officials in charge of mobilization, such as PLA major general Jiang Shikun, it said.
Officials in Xiamen declined to comment on the report.
Unofficial talks could be canceled
Hong Kong's China-backed Wen Wei Po newspaper quoted political sources on Wednesday as saying that unofficial talks scheduled between China and Taiwan in autumn would be canceled unless the island's government completely withdrew its new policy.
Under Lee's formula, any move by China to take Taiwan by military force would be seen as an invasion from a foreign power and provide an excuse for foreign intervention, the newspaper quoted sources as saying.
Last week, the China Youth Daily said China's North Sea Fleet had conducted maneuvers with submarines, surface ships and guided missiles in the Yellow Sea, between the country's eastern coast and the Korean peninsula.
The newspaper said the Yellow Sea drills were part of preparations for Army Day on August 1, but China has used military exercises to warn Taiwan against moving towards independence before.
In 1996, the United States sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to waters near Taiwan as China conducted menacing war games ahead of the island's first direct presidential elections.
War of words escalates between China and Taiwan
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.