President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) idea of a military mutual-trust mechanism with China is no more than an illusion unless Beijing responds to it positively, a defense official said yesterday.
Lieutenant General Hu Cheng-pu (胡鎮浦), the administrative vice defense minister, said at a press conference called to unveil this year's Defense White Paper that the ministry has set up three panels to work on the mechanism, which includes norms for military conduct across the Taiwan Strait and a declaration from Taiwan and China to end hostilities between them.
The results of their work will be presented to the president by January next year and will be translated into the nation's policy and made public after being approved by President Chen, Hu said.
However, he admitted that the whole thing will just be a waste of time unless Beijing responds positively.
As usual, the 2004 Defense White Paper focuses primarily on the military threat posed by Beijing to Taiwan, and the necessity for Taiwan to improve its defense capability. The paper also echoes the president's call for peace with China.
In the paper's preface, Chen said Taiwan should be the defender of its own security, rather than dependant on others for security.
Chen's call for a military mutual-trust mechanism with China includes the renouncing of weapons of mass destruction, the establishment of a military buffer zone across the strait and a set of norms for military conduct across the strait.