CHINA'S military exercise had forced unification advocates in Taiwan to change their position, a leading political analyst said yesterday. Professor John Hsieh Fuh-sheng, chairman of the Department of Political Science at National Chengchi University, said opinion polls in Taiwan showed the number of unification advocates was decreasing under the PLA threat. He said the war games would only strengthen President Lee Teng-hui's popularity because he was known to support the status quo. Surveys indicated the popularity of Mr Lee was boosted by the two military drills last year. Liu Jih-jia, a member of the Legislative Yuan and director of policy research for the Kuomintang, said the missile tests would probably boost Mr Lee's support to more than 50 per cent in the presidential election. 'I don't think Communist China is forcing him out of the election. What it has been doing is to promote his popularity,' Mr Liu said. He said electors who previously supported the Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate, Peng Ming-min, had shifted their support to Mr Lee. Professor Hsieh said although it was highly likely Mr Lee would be re-elected, his power could be weakened because his party barely maintained a slight majority in the Legislative Yuan election. The KMT secured 83 seats out of the 164 seats after two ex-KMT members declared to be independents in February.