Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan strategy triggers reshuffle in Chinese navy

AFP , HONG KONG

China has reshuffled its top naval leadership in a move apparently aimed at strengthening its force targeting Taiwanese waters, a Hong Kong report said yesterday.

Tong Shiping (童世平), deputy political commissar of the southern Guangzhou military region and political commissar of the South China Sea Fleet, has been named as director of the People's Liberation Army navy political department, the Wen Wei Po daily said, citing unnamed sources.

Wu Huayang, (鄔華揚) political commissar of the North China Sea Fleet, has become deputy political commissar of China's navy.

"It goes without saying that this is significant," the newspaper said.

"It cannot be ruled out that the Taiwanese-waters element is being considered following the reshuffle of high-ranking officers in navy headquarters," it added.

Tension between Beijing and Taipei has been heightened since President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was re-elected last year, with China fearing his pro-independence moves were aimed at gaining formal sovereignty.

China has stepped up rhetoric against Taiwan with the recent proposal of an anti-secession law aimed at preventing Taiwan from declaring independence.

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