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Friday, July 30, 2004

BBC News > Beijing warns of war with Taiwan

A senior Chinese official has warned that Beijing may attack Taiwan by 2008 if President Chen Shui-bian pursues his plans for constitutional change.
Mr Chen has insisted the planned amendments are only concerned with local issues, but Beijing suspects he has a pro-independence agenda.
Wang Zaixi, vice-minister of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said military action could not be ruled out.
The unusually forthright comments came as both sides staged annual war games.
China sees Taiwan as a renegade province which it has threatened to reunite by force if Taiwan declared independence.
Mr Wang, in an interview with the Chinese state newspaper China Daily, said Mr Chen's plan to write a new constitution by 2006, and - subject to a referendum - enact it by 2008, was a serious threat to cross-Strait stability.
"New tensions may arise and even a serious crisis in the cross-Straits situation, if Chen obstinately pursues his timetable," he said.
"We cannot completely rule out the possibility (of a military conflict) though it is not at all what we hope for." The parentheses were provided by the newspaper.
Mr Wang went on to say that it was difficult to improve current cross-Strait relations unless President Chen embraced the "one-China" principle - that there is only one China, and Taiwan is part of it.
Both Taipei and Beijing have been conducting war games in the last two weeks, preparing for the eventuality of cross-Strait conflict.
President Chen took part in a submarine dive on Thursday, and China has staged a mock-invasion of the island.



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