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Taiwan Not Ready for Military Confidence Steps with China

Mar. 13, 2013 - 07:57AM   |  
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TAIPEI — Taiwan said Wednesday that it was not yet ready to work with China to set up systems aimed at helping to avoid military conflict, despite fast warming ties with its former rival.

“The two sides have accumulated mutual trust to some extent, but it is not enough for the signing of confidence building measures,” deputy defense minister Andrew Yang said, as the island’s four-yearly defense review was published.

As ties have improved in recent years, scholars came up with the idea of the measures to reduce the possibility of military conflict. They would aim to improve communication between the Chinese and Taiwanese militaries through steps such as setting up hot lines and swapping military drill information.

Currently, the two militaries have no way of communicating with each other. Since Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou became Taiwan’s president in 2008, the island and its giant neighbor have forged 18 agreements covering a broad range of fields, from trade to banking and tackling crime.

The defense review examines the perceived growing military threat from China, despite the reduction in tensions. The 2013 edition warned that China is fast modernizing its forces that could be used to deter the United States from intervening in any conflict in the Taiwan Strait, the body of water separating Taiwan and China.

The People’s Liberation Army has deployed more anti-ship ballistic missiles on its warships and has more conventional and nuclear submarines, it said.

China still officially regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, although the island has governed itself since the two sides separated in 1949 after a long civil war.

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