Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 3 News List

MAC chairman says nation's policy is peace with China


Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) reaffirmed yesterday that the government's cross-Strait policy is one of peace, contradicting Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) claim a day earlier that Taiwan and China are now in a state of "quasi-war."

Addressing a seminar on cross-strait relations, Wu said the government's policy toward China has never veered from the framework outlined in President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) May 20 second inaugural address.

"I'm not fully aware of Lu's `quasi-war' definition. But one thing that is certain is that any explanations of the nation's cross-strait policy should not go beyond the basic guidelines and spirit set in Chen's second inaugural address," Wu said.

Chen said in the speech that his administration's top goal is to set up a framework of peace and stability for cross-strait relations and that the nation is fully prepared to reopen dialogue with China, Wu said.

Touching on China's ongoing military exercises on Dongshan Island, Wu said such drills are routine activities.

"Training exercises or simulated war games are normal military activities. We need not become anxious whenever China conducts military maneuvers," Wu said.

Nevertheless, Wu acknowledged that the nation faces an ever-increasing military threat because Beijing has continued to increase its military budgets and has stepped up its military build-up.

At the moment, Wu said, China's annual military budget is three times this country's. Against this backdrop, Wu said, Taiwan must take steps to prevent the cross-strait military balance from tilting in favor of China.

Wu urged the public to support a special arms procurement budget bill now awaiting legislative approval.

"The NT$610 billion (US$18 billion) budget plan is part of our efforts to beef up our defenses and prevent a possible cross-strait war due to a serious imbalance in military strength between the two sides of the strait," Wu said.

The Cabinet approved the special budget bill in June to buy six Patriot PAC-III anti-missile batteries, eight diesel-fueled submarines and a squadron of 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft from the US.

The package is awaiting legislative consideration.

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