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China in the bull shop. (Correction, Please!).

ITEM: "Beijing has hit back at the U.S., accusing the Pentagon and a congressional commission of fabricating a 'China threat' and warning that one of the biggest risks faced by China was continuing U.S. arms sales to Taiwan," reported CNN for July 23rd. "'The threat to Sino-U.S. relations, the threat to world peace, doesn't lie in China but rather in these people who have fabricated this China threat,' [Washington Embassy spokesman Xie Feng] said..."

CORRECTION: The problem with the Pentagon's long-awaited China assessment is that its release was delayed (so not to offend the Communists during the U.S. visit of Vice President Hu Jintao) and that it pulled its punches.

Others, however, have also noted China's growing capability, with the biggest military in the world. A Taiwanese "white paper" warns that in three years Beijing will be able to strike the island with 600 missiles. Taipei, despite being targeted, has been reducing its military spending consistently.

A recent report from the Philippines states: "Beijing uses negotiating tactics to keep neighboring governments hopeful of a peaceful compromise while the Chinese military continues to build up its permanent 'fortresses' in the Spratly Islands."

China has been buying fighters from Moscow such as the Su-30MK, and equipping them with air-to-air missiles. It is also acquiring more submarines (which could help blockade Taiwan); Sovremenny-class destroyers; air-to-surface weapons; and supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles.

Then there are its short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles, as well as ICBMs capable of reaching the U.S. As the Pentagon acknowledged: "China is in the midst of a ballistic-missile modernization program that is improving its force, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in all classes of missiles. This modernization program will improve both China's nuclear deterrence by increasing the number of warheads that can target the United States, as well as improving its operational capabilities for contingencies in East Asia."

China's strategy, says the Defense Department, is to use surprise and swift action -- which would bring the "rapid collapse of Taiwan's national will, precluding the United States from intervening."
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Author:Hoar, William P.
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Correction Notice
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Aug 26, 2002
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