Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lu defends `quasi-war' comment

`NO CONFLICT' Despite furious damage control from the Presidential Office, the vice president said that she didn't mean war in any military sense, but on other fronts


Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday clarified her controversial claim made on Friday that said the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were in a state of "quasi-war," saying that she did not mean "quasi-war" in a military sense.

In an interview with a news agency, Lu argued that her "quasi-war" statement was based on concepts of "unlimited, atypical and asymmetric warfare" rather than on conventional warfare concepts.

Claiming that the Presidential Office's statement focuses on the "military dimension" of cross-strait ties, Lu said she sees no conflict between her definition and the Presidential Office's rapid denial of her characterization.

Lu was referring to a statement released by the Presidential Office hours after her interview with Super Taiwan Radio on Friday, during which Lu characterized relations with China as a state of "quasi-war" because of Beijing's diplomatic and economic actions.

The Presidential Office statement said that the situation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is not a state of "quasi-war." The statement added, however, that the public should still keep alert in the face of China's military intimidation and political blockade.

Lu had also said that China does not have to actually attack Taiwan to start a war because this is a time when unlimited warfare dominates.

"Beijing has been isolating Taiwan diplomatically and hollowing out the island economically. It has even stepped up its diplomatic offensive against Taiwan after President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) May 20 second inauguration, intending to lure away Taiwan's diplomatic allies," she said.

"Moreover, Beijing has launched an all-out united front campaign to entice Taiwan businesspeople and other citizens. Militarily, its troops are practicing strategies for invading Taiwan," Lu said. She added that all these developments point to the fact that cross-strait ties are in a "quasi-war" state.

Meanwhile, Lu released what she called an authoritative analysis to back up her concerns about the current cross-strait situation.

This analysis said Beijing began a five-year plan after Taiwan's transition of power between different political parties in 2000 that requires its frontline military units responsible for Taiwan to complete full modernization by 2005 in preparation for pressuring Taiwan to accept its unification terms.

China's intelligence and "united front" units also have stepped up efforts to influence Taiwan in economic, academic, religious and information technology fields. Lu said Taiwan has been overlooking China's offensive in this regard.

"In the face of these challenges, we cannot only rely on military force to defend our security. We should mount an all-out campaign to beef up our psychological and civilian defense as well as military defense," Lu said

Also yesterday, Lu modified her harsh criticisms on Friday of pop diva Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹), more widely known as A-mei. Lu said that she did not object to local artists performing in China, adding that such performances in fact qualify as a form of "soft diplomacy" that she herself advocated.

Lu said, however, that a sense of national identity was also important. Mental and civic preparation for China's "super-war" attacks are key defenses, Lu said. If high-profile, influential citizens have no sense of national identity and duty, military morale may be severely dampened, she said.

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