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Monday, August 16, 2004

BBC > Plot to kill Taiwan's leaders'

'By Chris Hogg
BBC correspondent in Taiwan
Taiwan's prime minister has accused China of planning to kill or capture the island's leaders.
Yu Shyi-kun made the claim to reporters during a trip to South America.
A military official said the strategy appeared to have been inspired by the United States military's operation to capture Saddam Hussein.
China sees Taiwan as a renegade province, which it has threatened to reunite by force if the island tries to declare independence.
These were off-the-cuff comments during a foreign trip by the Taiwanese premier. His office in Taipei says it has no details of what evidence Mr Yu has for his claims.
But this makes them no less inflammatory.
Beijing has always threatened to retake the democratic, self-governing island by force.
'War preparation'
Mr Yu accused the Chinese military of simulating an attack on the presidential palace during war games being held in the Taiwan Straits. Killing or capturing the island's leaders was their aim, he said.
Last week Taiwanese military sources were reported to have claimed the island could withstand an attack for two weeks. That followed reports of a computer simulation which suggested the Chinese could capture Taipei within six days.
China appears to be accelerating its efforts to build up its military forces in preparation for war, experts say, but still lacks the sophisticated amphibious vessels to turn the People's Liberation Army into a credible invasion force.
Taiwan is reported to have stepped up security around the president and his offices. The United States has a treaty obligation to come to the island's defence if it is attacked by China.



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