Aug 23, 2004

Taiwan: Taiwan says China Ships challenge U.S. Defense Line

Taiwan Premier Yu Shyi-kun accused China of sending surveillance Ships into Taiwan and Japanese Waters
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Taiwan Premier Yu Shyi-kun accused arch-foe China of sending surveillance ships into Taiwan and Japanese waters to prepare for a possible confrontation with the United States, newspapers said on Monday.
The comments by Yu, who was in New York over the weekend, come at a time of simmering tensions between China and Taiwan, with the Taiwan Strait seen by some security analysts as the most dangerous flashpoint in Asia.

"Communist Chinese forces are coming to the Pacific Ocean for a confrontation with the United States. This causes a threat to security in the Asia Pacific," the China Times quoted Yu as saying in New York on Saturday.

"For the sake of world peace, for the sake of peace and stability in the Asia Pacific, and for the sake of global military security, the Americans must stand behind Taiwan," Yu was quoted as telling a group of about 500 Taiwan people.

Source: Reuters

The United States acknowledges Beijing's 'one China' policy, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, but Washington is the island's biggest arms supplier and has treaty obligations to defend Taipei against a Chinese attack.

China is convinced Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian could push for formal statehood before his second term ends in 2008, a move that Beijing has threatened to meet with war.

Yu said Chinese ships had made numerous intrusions into Taiwan waters, and sailed close to Japan seven times in July and 14 times last year, aiming to break the U.S. defense line in the west Pacific Ocean.

It was not immediately clear if the ships were military, as they were described by Yu as "ocean surveillance" vessels, which are normally equipped with machines to chart under-water terrain and gather information on other sea vessels.

"The United States is definitely the country with the most power and determination in the world, while China is definitely the source of chaos threatening the world," Yu was quoted as saying by the China Times. Aside from selling arms to Taiwan, Washington should agree to sign a free trade agreement with Taipei to prevent the island's economy from being marginalized, Yu said.

Chinese Communist Party chief Hu Jintao said on Sunday China was determined and had the ability to crush any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence.