04/04/2006, 00.00
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Chen: Beijing stockpiling arms to attack us

In a television debate, the Taiwanese president challenged the ambiguity of the "one China" principle and denounced China's stockpiling of arms.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Beijing is preparing a military attack against Taiwan within 10 years, said the Taiwanese president, Chen Shuibian. He was speaking during a television debate with Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang opposition party.

Chen accused China of altering the status quo in the Strait by piling up missiles targeting the rebel island.

"The number of ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan has topped 787 from 200 in 2000." The number is increasing by 100-120 per year. According to information collected by the Taipei government, China is following a three-stage programme: "They plan to beef up their emergency warfare capabilities by next year, and large-scale warfare capabilities against Taiwan by 2010 and capabilities to have a military showdown with Taiwan by 2015," said Chen.

The Taiwanese president cast doubt on the "goodwill" of China towards the island based on the "one China" principle.

During the fiery television debate, Chen quashed the "one China" principle agreed between Kuomintang and the Chinese authorities in 1992. That year, negotiators of Taiwan and the People's Republic of China concluded a meeting in Hong Kong by saying they would both be inspired by the principle of "one China". But the principle has remained somewhat ambiguous. For Beijing, the only China is the People's Republic of China, of which Taiwan is, temporarily, a "rebel" province; for Taipei, the only China is the Republic of China which, in the distant future, should also include mainland China.

Chen said: "There is only one China, but each side can have its own interpretation."

The Taiwanese president challenged his counterpart in China, president Hu Jintao, to publicly acknowledge that the "one China" principle could be "interpreted differently", recognizing also the Taiwanese interpretation.

The chairman of the Kuomintang, Lian Chan will visit Beijing before the month is out. Chen asked Ma Ying-jeou that Lian discuss this theme of "different interpretations" with Hu. If Hu accepted the Taiwanese version, Chen said he would be ready to launch peace talks with Beijing.

The television debate lasted more than two hours and it was held at Ma's request. Ma has recently returned from a trip to the United States where his balanced stand was backed by some fringes of the American political world. Chen refused Ma's advice to reduce tension with China by opening direct transport links and by signing a peace agreement. Chen holds that Beijing's pacific intentions are "unreliable".

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See also
Two more months in prison for Chen Shuibian
Hu Jintao congratulates Ma Ying-jeou on his election as KMT chief
New sign of easing tensions, KMT chairman to visit mainland
Trial of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian opens
Third anti-Chen motion fails in parliament


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