Taiwan steps up street battle training as China outlines anti-secession law
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Taiwan steps up street battle training as China outlines anti-secession law

AFP | March 08, 2005

Taiwan said Tuesday it would increase its army's training for street battles in this year's military exercises as its rival China outlined an anti-secession law aimed at the island.

In a press conference coinciding with Beijing's unveiling of a controversial law which will give its military the legal basis for attacking Taiwan, Taipei said its forces would stage 50 exercises in the year ahead.

Priority would be given to street battles, anti-asymetric and anti-terrorist wars in the drills beginning in April, defence ministry officials said.

Should war break out in the Taiwan Strait, China would be expected to strike at the island's airbases, harbours as well as military command and communications establishments, followed by air and naval blockades and comprehensive invasion, Colonel Chen Chuan-yuan said.

"Should that happen, street battles would be possible scenarios," Major-General Wang Kuo-chiang told reporters.

Taiwan's military authorities had explored the bloody street battle experiences from US soldiers in Iraq and Russian forces in Chechnya, Wang said.

Although details of China's anti-secession law, which is expected to be passed on Monday, were not announced, Beijing made clear it had not yielded an inch from its insistence to retake Taiwan, which has been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.

The alternative to force was peaceful reunification using the "one country, two systems" model adopted by Hong Kong, according to Wang Zhaoguo, vice chairman of the National People's Congress, or parliament.

Taiwan rejected Beijing's reunification approach and said China's planned anti-secession law was an attempt to forcefully annex the island.

Since pro-independence President Chen Shui-bian was re-elected in March Beijing has stressed its long-standing vow to take Taiwan by force should the island try to declare independence from China.

The United States has remained the leading arms supplier to Taiwan despite its switch of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

Under a 25-year-old US law called the Taiwan Relations Act, Washington acknowledges Beijing's position that Taiwan is part of China but is bound by law to provide weapons to help the island defend itself if its security is threatened.

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