US cancels war games with Taiwan

The United States has cancelled planned computer war games with Taiwan because of rising tension between the island and China over contentious referendum legislation.

    Washington does not approve of Taiwan's calls for 'sovereignty'

    CTI television said the reason given for the cancellation was media leaks, but that behind the scenes it was seen as an attempt by Washington to warn the Taiwanese government. 

    "Washington scrapped the plan to avoid misleading the Taiwanese people in their judgment of the current situation," the television reported. 

    Analysts said the United States was trying to give the impression it did not support the maneuvering by the pro-independence movement in Taiwan, which had called for new legislation passed last week to be used to hold a referendum on the island's "sovereignty". 

    Referendum

    Statements by President Chen Shui-bian that he would like to hold the referendum during March presidential polls has infuriated Beijing, which considers the island part of China. 

    Beijing considers Taiwan a
    Chinese territory

    Taiwan's vice-defense minister was scheduled to leave for Washington over the weekend, leading a high-profile military mission for comprehensive talks on arms deals and Taiwan's security. 

    The computer war games were scheduled for Hawaii from 15 to 17 December. 

    Taiwan's defence authorities were not immediately available for comment. 

    Chen has pledged to hold a vote on the island's presidential
    election day, 20 March, to safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty. He accused China on Sunday of aiming 496 ballistic missiles at the island. 

    Beijing has considered the island part of Chinese territory
    awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, since the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

    SOURCE: AFP


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