Fri, Apr 04, 2014 - Page 4 News List

China can invade in months: MND

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou holds up an envelope along with a military officer yesterday during a military drill at the 21st Artillery Command in Taoyuan County.

Photo: CNA

If China decided to invade Taiwan, it would need at least four months to prepare its assault, Deputy Minister of National Defense Lee Hsiang-chou (李翔宙) said yesterday.

Lee made the remarks during a presentation to the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee after People First Party Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) asked him how much advance warning the nation’s military forces would have in the event of a Chinese invasion.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said that if Beijing ordered a cross-strait invasion, Chinese officials would have to take numerous follow-up steps before it could be carried out.

Lee Hsiang-chou said the order would be made at a top-level meeting in Zhongnanhai — the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party — and the four-month countdown would begin with the formation of a task force at China’s Central Military Commission.

The commission comprises China’s two parallel defense institutions, both chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

The next steps would be to recall Chinese envoys, execute economic preparations and tighten control of Taiwanese businesspeople in China, Lee Hsiang-chou said.

These and the many military measures that would also need to be taken mean that China would likely start preparations about four months prior to invading, he said.

Asked if he thought other nations would come to Taiwan’s aid should a cross-strait war break out, the deputy minister did not answer directly, saying only that relevant measures with other countries are already in place and that military reserves would be called into action in the event of a Chinese attack.

Asked by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) about establishing military confidence-building measures with China, Lee Hsiang-chou said that unless Beijing renounces the use of force to achieve unification, military mutual trust cannot be built and Taipei therefore has neither the interest, nor the need to establish those measures.

He said establishing communication is essential to prevent armed conflict, but added that he does not see any channels for bilateral military communication at present.

Since the government’s China policy is talk economics before politics, the ministry will stay neutral on cross-strait issues, but do what is necessary to be combat-ready, Lee Hsiang-chou said.

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