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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Taiwan denounces Chinese 'terrorism'
A missile on display in the courtyard of the Military Museum in Beijing.
Taiwan says China is targeting it with 400 missiles
Taiwan's President, Chen Shui-bian, has described China's threats against his island as a form of terrorism.

In a televised speech to mark the anniversary of the 11 September attacks on the United States, Mr Chen called on China to withdraw hundreds of ballistic missiles lined up along its eastern coast.


There is no reason to have the 23 million people here being shadowed by protracted military threat

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian
He said that while Taiwan supported Washington's efforts to combat terrorism, the world should appreciate the pressure his people were under from Beijing.

Mr Chen's comments come only weeks after he infuriated the Chinese government by backing calls that Taiwan hold a referendum on formal independence.

Taiwan broke with China at the end of a civil war in 1949 and Beijing still views the island as a renegade province. It has repeatedly threatened to attack the island if it seeks full independence.

Bristling coastline

"The terror and threat posed to Taiwan's people has virtually exceeded those brought by any terrorist attacks," Mr Chen said on Tuesday.


  • 1949: Chinese Nationalists flee to Taiwan as People's Republic of China declared
  • 1979: China-US diplomatic ties established after Washington switches recognition from Taipei
  • 2000: Chen Shui-bian elected Taiwan president. Beijing threatens to attack if island attempts to secede
  • 2001: Taipei lifts ban on direct trade and investment with China
  • 2002: Taiwan warns China is boosting military spending and losing patience over peaceful reunification


  • "While Taiwan is devoting itself to anti-terrorism, there is no reason to have the 23 million people here being shadowed by protracted military threat," he added.

    He said that China had deployed about 400 ballistic missiles to face Taiwan, an arsenal that was growing at a rate of about 50 a year.

    Mr Chen also voiced concern over China's "asymmetric" military strategy under which it could target Taiwan with cruise missiles, biochemical weaponry, internet hackers and electric magnetic pulse (EMP) bombs which could paralyse Taiwan's communication and banking networks.

    The Taiwan question is a perpetual thorn in the side of China's relations, not only with Taipei, but with Washington.

    The administration of President George W Bush has taken a harder line than previous US governments.

    Last year he vowed to do "whatever it took" to defend the island.

    See also:

    11 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
    10 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
    06 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
    07 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
    05 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
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