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China needs 4 months to prepare attack: MND

TAIPEI--If the People's Republic of China were to decide to invade Taiwan, it would need at least four months to prepare for such an action, Deputy Minister of National Defense Lee Shying-jow said Thursday.

According to Lee's estimations, the four month timeframe begins when a task force is formed in the Central Military Commission (CMC) once orders to attack Taiwan are relayed from Zhongnanhai — the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party.

The deputy defense minister made the remarks in a presentation to the foreign affairs and national defense committee at the Legislative Yuan, upon being asked how much advance warning Taiwan's military forces would have in the event of a Chinese invasion.

According to Lee, should the PRC decide on an incursion into Taiwan, the decision itself would need to be followed up with many steps before any action could take place.

A top-level meeting in Zhongnanhai, he said, would be followed by the formation of a task force in the CMC, the recall of Chinese envoys, many preparations in the economic field and tighter control of Taiwanese businessmen operating in China.

These and many military measures which need to be taken means that the preparations would have to start roughly four months prior to the actual invasion, Lee said.

As for the question of whether or not other nations would come to Taiwan's aid should a cross-Taiwan Strait war break out, the deputy minister did not answer directly, saying only that relevant measures with other nations are in place and that military reserves would be called into action.

Asked about the possibility of establishing military confidence building measures (MCBMs) with China, Lee responded by saying that unless China renounces the use of force to achieve unification, there will not be mutual trust and Taiwan has neither the interest nor the need to establish MCBMs.

Lee said the establishment of a means of communication is essential for the prevention of armed conflict, although he added that he does not see any channels for communication at present.

Since the current government policy toward China is to talk economics before politics, the deputy minister added, the Ministry of National Defense will remain neutral and do what is necessary to be combat-ready.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have eased significantly after official cross-strait dialogue resumed under President Ma Ying-jeou's administration. Ma began his first four-year term in May 2008.

Taiwan remains wary, however, as China has yet to renounce the use of force against Taiwan and continues to build up its military capability.

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