War 'would spoil carnival'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 July, 1999, 12:00am

Beijing and Taipei can resolve their row peacefully, a leading member of Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party said yesterday.

'Neither side wants war,' said Parris Chang, senior party adviser and United States representative, during his first visit to the mainland since 1992.

'China is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is a carnival with guests coming. It does not want to spoil the party.

'Look how much it lost in 1996 [in large-scale manoeuvres in the Taiwan Strait]. The military hung itself. It is very unlikely that would happen again.

'In China, the military has too much say on Taiwan policy. This should not be left to them. In Taiwan, we have domesticated our military.' 'Creative ambiguity' could solve the row, according to Mr Chang.

He said: 'I am not pessimistic. You should not underestimate the ability of diplomats to spin things and pretend. The US has seized the opportunity to mediate and improve relations with China after the bombing of the Belgrade embassy.' However, Mr Chang said if the PLA conducted military exercises, America would be forced to send naval forces to the Taiwan Strait, as it did in 1996.