In Taipei, Talk of Arms -- and Amity
On Nov. 10, Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian called for peaceful dialogue regarding a host of issues with his adversaries in Beijing, the second such attempt to ease cross-strait tensions since his reelection on Mar. 20. Chinese President Hu Jintao and Beijing's officialdom view Taiwan as a renegade province and are particularly distrustful of Chen's intentions, regardless of the rhetoric. Taiwan is facing a legislative election on Dec. 11, and Chen's Democratic Progress Party and its coalition partner hope to pick up a majority of seats. That would strengthen Chen's hand in winning approval for a bill authorizing $18 billion to buy batteries of Patriot III missiles, eight diesel-electric submarines, and a squadron of antisub aircraft -- all of which would help Taiwan deter any attempt to reunite it with China by brute force.
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