- (CNN) -- Chinese President Jiang Zemin has asked the
armed forces to make "solid preparation for military struggle"
in order to attain national reunification.
- While addressing military delegates to the National
Congress, Jiang said: "to solve the issue of Taiwan and realize
reunification of the motherland is one of the three major tasks for the
Party and the nation in the new century."
- However, Jiang, who is also Chairman of the
Central Military Commission (CMC), did not lay down specific tactics or
a definite time-frame for taking back Taiwan.
- Sources close to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) said
Jiang was using harsher than usual rhetoric on Taiwan partly in response
to recent events between Taiwan and the United States.
- They included the on-going visit to the U.S. by Taiwan
Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming and American arms sale to the island.
- "Jiang is facing more pressure particularly from
mid-ranking PLA officers to be tougher with Taiwan and the U.S.,"
said an army source.
- "Jiang's response is that the nation must focus
on economic development. He is, however, willing to satisfy the generals'
demand for bigger budgets."
- In his speech to the PLA delegates, Jiang stressed the
importance of a hi-tech army -- and the need to take advantage of China's
entry to the World Trade Organization to learn more about the armies of
- The president, however, underscored the imperative of
the party's strict control of the PLA.
- Heir apparent
- Analysts say Jiang has doubts whether his heir-apparent,
Vice-President Hu Jintao, may be able to fully control the top brass once
he becomes party general secretary, and later, CMC chairman.
- A 17.6 percent increase in military spending was
at the NPC
- At the session, the president also called upon the PLA
to assume more responsibilities in fighting anti-terrorist activities,
primarily in regions with concentrations of ethnic minorities -- and
- "The army should help local governments in combating
all forms of terrorist activities," the Liberation Army Daily on
quoted Jiang as saying.
- Analysts say the bulk of anti-terrorist tasks are being
handled by the quasi-military People's Armed Police.
- They say the fact that Jiang is calling on the army to
join in the campaign means Beijing is anxious to achieve early results
in containing separatist movements in Xinjiang and Tibet.