Taiwan and China

March 23, 2000

A month ago, China solemnly warned Taiwan that continued refusal to negotiate reunification with the mainland could lead to an attack on the island. This 11,000 word "white paper" raised the stakes in Asia. In the past, China has steadfastly refused to rule out the use of force to bring about unification. But it limited its attack threats to an outright declaration of independence by Taiwan or a foreign intervention there. That has changed.

One magazine report of "Document No. 65" suggested that China is ready to engage in war and even nuclear conflict with the United States should fighting break out over Taiwan. The document was allegedly produced by the military sub-committee of the Chinese Community Partyís central committee.

The document apparently says, "We would have to make a military intervention as early as possible, before the American troops are fully operational." Faced with U.S. bombardment of key sites and military installations, the document stressed that China has roughly the same level of conventional forces and would benefit from a fight closer to its own territory.

"The document argues that the U.S. would have little interest in starting a nuclear war over the island, but said that Beijing would be ready to turn to its nuclear arsenal should circumstances demand. "We are ready to defend every square centimeter of our country," said the document.

This recent threat to use force in advance of Taiwanís presidential election recalls Beijingís decision four years ago, on the eve of another presidential election, to conduct military exercises just north of Taiwan. This latest threat is a sober reminder of what is at stake in our relations with China and Taiwan.

Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.