China Puts Army On Combat
Alert - 'Ready To Strike Taiwan'


HONG KONG (Reuters) - China has ordered its army on combat alert, ready to strike Taiwan if the island's election dispute intensifies, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post said on Monday.
The order was issued on Saturday, the paper said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao could cite the newly revised state constitution to declare a state of emergency over Taiwan, paving the way for a military attack, the paper quoted unidentified sources on the mainland as saying.
Beijing has ordered government departments in the capital and the coastal provinces of Fujian, Guangdong and Zhejiang to put more officials on duty, it said. In a military operation, these provinces would serve as bases for missile attacks.
But analysts said there were no signs an attack was imminent, the paper said.
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian narrowly won re-election on Saturday, a day after he was shot in a mysterious assassination attempt, but opposition leader Lien Chan has declared the vote unfair and demanded a recount.
China considers self-governing Taiwan a renegade province that must be eventually be reunified, by force, if necessary.
China's Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement on Sunday it was "closely following" the situation in the island.



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