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Taipei opposes nuclear solution

Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian is hoping to ease tensions with China
Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian is hoping to ease tensions with China  

Willy Wo-Lap Lam
CNN's Senior China Analyst

(CNN) -- Taipei has indicated it is opposed to the United States using nuclear weapons to resolve a possible crisis in the Taiwan Strait.

And in another olive branch to mainland authorities, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian reiterated his wish to pay a visit to his home town in Fujian Province.

In a reply to a query from legislators, the Taiwan Defense Ministry said a nuclear threat from Washington against China would increase tension in the Taiwan Strait because this would "provide hardliners in the mainland with a pretext to boost their influence."

The ministry was referring to a leaked Pentagon report, which said the U.S. might consider using nuclear weapons against China in the event of cross-Strait warfare.

The ministry said such a threat would "increase [Beijing's] the sense of mistrust and insecurity and affect [the mainland's] political and military judgment and decision-making"

Eye on Taiwan 

It said Taipei's defense strategies had not been affected by the Pentagon's "nuclear posture review."

The ministry said if the U.S. and the mainland were to stop observing their self-restraint on the use of nuclear weapons, "this could spell disaster to the Taiwan Strait and neighboring areas."

While the official Chinese reactions to the Pentagon's "nuclear posture review" have been relatively mild, officers in the People's Liberation Army are reported to have lobbied Beijing for more funds to counter the latest threat from the U.S.

Meanwhile, Taiwan papers on Monday quoted Chen as saying he would like to visit his hometown, the village of Kejiazhuang in coastal Fujian Province.

"If there is an opportunity to go to the mainland, I would like to go to my old village in Fujian."

Chen was engaged in an Internet chat with the Taiwan public over policy matters.

The president defended the slush fund set up by his predecessor, Lee Teng-hui to conduct "flexible diplomacy," saying it was necessary to have financial means to conduct special types of diplomacy and intelligence work.




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