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China's military says it's ready to use force against Taiwan

Source: AFP|Published: Monday October 16, 3:10 PM

Beijing: China's People's Liberation Army threatened it was ready to use force against Taiwan today in its most strongly-worded statement since the election of new Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian.

'The PLA has the absolute determination, confidence, ability and means to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity and will never tolerate, condone or remain indifferent to the realisation of any scheme to divide the motherland,' the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting a document entitled 'China's National Defence in 2000.'

The PLA's document, published by China's cabinet the State Council today, renewed the type of threats China lodged against Taiwan just before the March presidential elections.

The document reiterated warnings contained in a previous white paper on Taiwan issued one month before the election in which China threatened it would attack the island under three conditions.

'If a grave turn of events occurs leading to the separation of Taiwan from China in any name, or if Taiwan is invaded and occupied by foreign countries or if the Taiwan authorities refuse indefinitely the peaceful settlement of cross-Straits reunification through negotiations, then the Chinese government will have no choice but to adopt all drastic measures possible, including the use of force, to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity,' Xinhua quoted the document saying.

China took a wait and see attitude after the election of Chen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

Chen's victory ended 50 years of rule by the nationalist Kuomintang which had led Taiwan since its separation from mainland China in 1949 at the end of a bitter civil war.

Since Chen's election, China has mostly refrained from open threats of attack but continued to pressure Chen to embrace Beijing's policy that Taiwan is a part of the mainland.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 16, 2000

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