Taiwan Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday that China is preparing to invade Taiwan while using the theory of a "peaceful rise" as a cover.
"The Chinese communists are releasing `peaceful rise' as a smoke-screen. What they are doing is strengthening their combat-preparedness," Lu said while speaking at the opening of a defense industry seminar.
She said China's defense bud-get was second highest in the world at NT2.2 trillion (US$66.38 billion), second only to that of the US. Taiwan's military spending accounted for one-ninth of that amount.
China plans to acquire up to three guided-missile destroyers each year and by 2010 its navy is expected to have 24 such destroyers, she said.
Lu said China's new electronic surveillance vessels had scouted much of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, particularly waters off Taiwan.
"Obviously, the Chinese communists are prepared to engage in a limited high-tech war," she said.
Foremost is the threat from hundreds of Chinese ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan, Lu warned. Taiwanese officials estimate there will be 800 by the end of 2006.
Lu yesterday also called on the private sector to participate in developing the defense industry to help strengthen the nation's defense capabilities.
Lu said that the participation in the reserve duty program of the private sector, particularly the technology industry, is very important to the country's defense industry development.
In the face of China's growing military buildup, which poses a serious threat to Taiwan's security, Lu said, Taiwan can only maintain cross-strait peace by obtaining sufficient defense capabilities.
Taiwan is a major country in terms of the development of advanced technology and the government is conducting nine programs for technology development.
Based on common use by the military and civilian sectors, Lu said, more than 12,000 individuals have contributed their expertise to the country's defense industry development since the defense industry reserve duty system was established in 1980.
The defense industry reserve duty program is aimed at supplying sufficient skilled labor for the research and development of weapons.