Cross-strait defense policy has not changed, gov’t says

The China Post staff

A government spokesman yesterday denied Taiwan was fuelling cross-strait tensions by provoking China, after the U.S delivered the island a softly-worded rebuke aimed at Premier Yu Shyi-kun’s threats of massive retaliation against a Chinese attack. Cabinet spokesman Chen Chi-mai said Taiwan’s defense policy had not changed and was still based on a strategy of defending the island from a possible attack.

As part of this strategy, Taiwan has pledged to only make and buy defensive weapons. “We absolutely would not actively provoke China, nor would we launch the first strike,” Chen said.

Chen said the island had made a number of peace overtures towards its Communist neighbor, such as canceling military drills at the end of August. Please see POLICY on page

On Monday, deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli in a soft rebuke said the U.S would prefer to see Taiwan government officials focus on dialogue with China, rather than refer to the use of force or other unilateral moves, when asked about Yu’s weekend comments. Chen said reducing cross-strait tensions had been the government’s goal all along. He said a controversial NT$ 610.8 billion dollar arms purchase from the U.S was needed for self-defense and not to start an arms race with China. Taiwan wanted to establish a mutual framework for peace with China, including a mechanism for mutual military trust, a military telephone hot line linking up the two archrivals and a demilitarized zone in the Taiwan strait, he said.

“In reality, the government’s stance of promoting cross-strait dialogue has not changed at all,” Chen said.

On Saturday Yu said Taiwan’s security could only be maintained if the island had counter-strike abilities in a Cold War-style balance of terror, with the power to launch a missile attack at Shanghai as a response to a Chinese missile attack on Taiwan’s major cities.