Thu, May 01, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Admiral offers insights in book on navy career

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The US kept the military well-informed of the missile tests that China was to launch prior to the 1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, KMT Legislator Nelson Ku (顧崇廉), a former navy commander-in-chief, said in a book which was released yesterday.

In the book Admiral Ku the Helmsman, Ku said that the missile tests did happen in March 1996, as the US had predicted.

"The information was provided to us in October 1995, during my visit to the US. The US predicted that China would launch some kind of military action to influence the [Taiwan's] presidential elections the following March. They said China was likely to launch a missile every two to three days into the Taiwan Strait and that such missile tests would last for quite some time," Ku wrote.

"The US asked us to take such military intimidation seriously. I reported the message to my superiors after returning to the country.

"The missile tests did happen in the lead-up to the presidential elections as predicted by the US," Ku wrote.

Ku commanded the navy between 1994 and 1997. He is the first of the military leaders who were in command during the crisis to make public the flow of information between the US before and during the crisis.

At a press conference held yesterday to mark the release of the book Ku gave more details.

"Because of the information provided by the US, the military had enough time to prepare for the missile tests," he said.

"We did not worry too much about the missile tests since we knew in advance that they were aimed at influencing our presidential elections. We did not think they would develop into a war," he said.

"The way in which the tests were conducted met our expectations. The only thing out of ours or China's expectations was that the tests did not scare people away from voting for [former president] Lee Teng-hui (李登輝)," he said.

The Taiwan Strait Crisis led to greater trust between Taiwan and the US and some changes in the Sino-US relations, he said.

"The US does not want to see a war in the Taiwan Strait. They take it as their obligation to prevent Taiwan from suffering from any aggression," he said.

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