China had no comment yesterday on the US researchers' findings, but they will confirm the belief widely held within the Government that Washington's priority then, as now, is to contain China and prevent it becoming a superpower. General Cao Guangchuan, director of the PLA's General Armaments Department, said earlier this year: 'The Western hostile forces, led by the United States, have not given up the wild ambition to subjugate our country.' His words represent the thoughts of thousands of others in the military. According to their view, US hostility dates back to the 1940s when Washington chose to arm the rival Nationalists in the war against Japan and then in the civil war against the Communists. In the Korean War, the Americans fought the Chinese and, as they see it, then armed the Nationalist government to prevent reunification. Although China and the US normalised relations in 1979, these generals say this containment policy remains unchanged, with US military stationed in South Korea and Japan, the arming of Taiwan and the readiness to defend it if attacked by Beijing. The latest manifestation of the US policy is the proposed Theatre Missile Defence system, of which Taiwan wishes to be a part. The generals feel the events in Kosovo and East Timor add an ominous new dimension, establishing the principle of foreign military intervention in a country's internal conflict. They fear Washington may use this as a pretext to intervene in Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet.