China army practicing storming Taiwan presidential building
Taiwan has lodged a formal protest with China about reports that the Chinese military is exercising with a model building to storm the Taiwanese presidential palace.
Chinese state channel CCTV broadcast a video clip earlier this month showing fully armed soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army running towards a red building with a silhouette similar to that of Taiwan’s Presidential Office. The footage has sparked a backlash from the island’s media and politicians because of the similarities to the building in the heart of the capital Taipei.
The military exercise was aired by the official China Central Television on July 5. It went mostly unnoticed until a Shanghai-based web daily published the event saying China “would use force to solve the Taiwan issue”.
“Through the contact mechanism, we’ve lodged a solemn protest,” Wu Mei-hung, spokeswoman for Taiwan’s mainland affairs council, said on Friday.
Chinese military created a look-alike structure of the Taiwanese presidential palace, and practiced storming it with air fire and armoured cars, according to Taiwanese sources. Taipei suspects China was preparing its forces for a future attack on its most important political structure.Reacting to the event, a spokesman for Taiwan’s ministry of national defence said that the implied was “unacceptable for the Taiwanese public and the international community”. “The Chinese Communist Party hasn’t given up on armed assault on Taiwan, and their military preparations are still geared toward the use of force against Taiwan,” the spokesman major general David Lo told local media.
The Chinese government denied that Taiwan was the object of the drill and described it as a “routine military exercise”.
This comes in the midst of presidential election scenario in Taiwan where the opposition Democratic Party is expected to win the mandate next January. The party has been campaigning for total independence from mainland China. President Ma Ying-jeou’s engagement policies with China have proved divisive, compounding the declining public support his ruling Nationalist Party is experiencing over economic and social issues.China regards Taiwan, which declared independence in 1949, as part of its territory. Chinese leaders regularly talk about reclaiming Taiwan one day. Taipei receives military hardware from the US despite severe protests from Beijing. Chinese authorities are seriously disturbed at rising anti-China sentiment in the pre-poll atmosphere, sources said.
Sources said that what is even more embarrassing for Beijing is that a dissident Chinese leader, who led the youth during the 1989 crackdown at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, has entered the fray.
The rebel, Wu’er Kaixi announced his candidacy on Friday for a seat in Taiwan’s parliament.
Google earth images of practice location