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China hints a missile removal offer following economic pact with Taiwan


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A Chinese military spokesman said last week that China is willing to discuss the removal of its 1,400 short- and medium-range missiles now targeting Taiwan.

Sr. Col. Geng Yansheng told reporters July 30 that missiles stationed along the Fujian Province coast could be removed as part of an effort to build a framework for peaceful development. Based on the One-China principle, Taiwan and China are now to start discussing the formal ending of cross-strait hostility and to reach a peace agreement, Geng said.


Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-Jeou has called for China to pull back the missiles targeting Taiwan as a confidence building measure before any political talks can be resumed.


The Chinese military statement countered earlier statements that China would not soften its military posture opposite the island, which the PLA has identified as a core national security.


In response, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on July 31 that "China has deployed more than 1,000 mobile missiles against Taiwan, so whether China removes them or not, it has no significance on the military level.”


“However, we would like to see China remove the missiles on its own initiative and let the Taiwan people feel Beijing's good will," the statement said.


Beijing and Taipei have lowered tensions in recent months as economic ties have grown. Political talks, however, were cut off several years ago and have not been resumed.


The Chinese statement, however, indicates a new shift in Beijing’s policies and coincided with the recent signing of economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).


Geng said that "everything can be discussed" in talks aimed at setting up a military trust mechanism, including removing the missiles aimed at Taiwan.



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