Sun, Dec 01, 2002 - Page 8 News List

Beijing's offer exposes real threat

By the Liberty Times editorial

According to a Washington Times news report, China has been conducting missile tests in the Bo Hai Gulf (渤海灣). Its missile range has exceeded US estimates, to the US government's considerable surprise.

The report went on to say that around the time of the meeting of the 16th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), JH-7 fighter jets flying out of the Bo Hai Gulf fired a YJ-83 anti-ship cruise missile, with a range of 250km. The SM-2 surface-to-air missile that will come with the Kidd-class destroyers that the US is planning to sell to Taiwan, will obviously be no match for the YJ-83.

This one example demonstrates that Jiang's proposal was not at all what it sounded like. The people of Taiwan would be naive to consider it a welcome development.

President Chen called on China during his speech on this year's Double Ten Day to withdraw the missiles immediately and to publicly denounce the use of force against Taiwan.

Chen is absolutely right to highlight the missile threat while giving equal weight to other military deployments that China may use to attack Taiwan. This is the only way to avoid entrapment by the so-called " withdrawal of missiles in exchange for a reduction in arm sales."

By contrast, although opposition lawmakers also voted for the passage of a resolution near the end of October, calling on China to withdraw the missiles, they continue to lack an understanding of the nature and the level of the military threats posed by China.

In fact, they began to pressure the government to open up direct transport links and visited China to negotiate direct charter flights before China had even responded to the resolution for missile withdrawal. Such conduct hardly demonstrates that they have the welfare and the safety of Taiwan and its 23 million people at heart.

Jiang's proposal to Bush was either empty words or some sort of trick disguised as a concession. Isn't it precisely due to China's refusal to renounce the use of force against Taiwan that the US is selling defensive arms to Taiwan?

The cross-strait military situation exists because China has deployed large amounts of offensive arms, forcing Taiwan to strengthen its defensive capabilities. China poses a severe military threat to Taiwan, while Taiwan couldn't possibly launch an offensive against China with the defensive arms it has purchased. The two side's military capabilities are completely different in nature.

China has repeatedly condemned the US for selling arms to Taiwan, conveniently forgetting that China started all this. China is the one consistently trying to use military threats to create bargaining chips, to force concessions from the US and Taiwan.

These are the tactics of "rogue diplomacy." Anyone in Taiwan who is thinking about echoing Jiang's proposal should first think about what Taiwan will use to neutralize the threat posed by Chinese nuclear missiles and submarines.

Not long after Jiang made the proposition to Bush, he reiterated during the meeting of the CCP's 16th Central Committee that, "We will never promise to refrain from the use of force." It isn't hard to figure out what Jiang has in mind.

It is nevertheless a great thing that Jiang made the proposition to Bush, but the good in it lies not in the proposed deal but in its implicit admission that China has indeed deployed war heads targeting Taiwan.

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