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The chronology will be expanded to track major cross-straits issues and events so check back often.


2003, February 11, Taiwan (National Republic): According to the Associated Press, Taiwan lawmakers are considering passage of a bill that would permit the currency of mainland China to be used in Taiwan. Taiwan has had a ban on Chinese currency since 1949. Dropping the ban would bring the two economies closer together. This action follows moves by Taiwan in recent years to relax restrictions on investing in China.

2003, February 13, Taiwan (National Republic): According to the Taipei Times, quoting unnamed defense sources, China is improving longer-range surface-to-surface missiles such as the Dong Feng-21 in order to increase its range and be able to hit more targets in Taiwan. The Dong Feng-21 is a medium-range ballistic missile with a maximum range of 1,243 miles (2,000 km), deployed mainly in Jiangxi Province, China. The short-range Dong Feng-11 and Dong Feng-15 missiles are deployed primarily in Fujian Province at fixed or mobile bases.

2003, February 19, United States of America: US Secretary of State Colin Powell in an interview with a Hong Kong-based TV station, Phoenix TV, stressed that the United States would not modify its position of support for Taiwan while seeking assistance from Beijing in dealing with North Korea.

2003, February 13, Taiwan (National Republic): According to the Associated Press, Taiwan reports that it has no evidence to support the assertion that China is withdrawing a few missiles aimed at the island, said a Taiwanese military official on condition of anonymity. The report follows an earlier story reported by the United Daily News, one of Taiwan's biggest dailies, that China had redeployed an unknown number of missiles from the coast of Fujian. China currently has hundreds of missiles in firing positions ready to launch against targets in Taiwan.

2003 March 1, Taiwan (National Republic): In an interview with the newspaper Le Figaro, former French foreign minister Roland Dumas reveals that France paid a US$500 million commission in 1991 when six Lafayette-class frigates were sold to Taiwan. The deal was reportedly approved by former president Francois Mitterand and was also known by then-premier, finance and budget ministers. According to a Taipei Times report, the most of the commission was paid to the secretary-general of Taiwan's then ruling party, the Kuomintang (KMT), while US$100 million went to the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee in Beijing. Although not identified by Dumas, James Soong served as KMT secretary-general from 1989 to 1993. Soong is currently the PFP (People First Party) chairman. Dumas served six months in prison in 2002 as a result of charges related to the Lafayette case.

2003 March 14, United States of America: National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice informs reporters in Washington DC that the Bush administration will not change its Taiwan policy in order to secure Beijing's support for a UN resolution supporting "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in a bid to oust Saddam Hussein form power.

2003 March 25, Taiwan (National Republic): Agence France Presse, reports that Taiwan is speeding up the purchase of U.S.-made PAC-III Patriot antimissile weaponry to counter China's growing missile threat, according to Defense Minister Chen Chao-min to parliament on March 24. "The pace for the procurement of PAC-III systems has been hastened as the Chinese communists have deployed more missiles targeting Taiwan," said Chen Chao-min, who also voiced caution about the effectiveness of the PAC-III Patriot missiles used by the United States in its war in Iraq.

2003 March 28, United States of America: Legislation is introduced in the US Congress to reaffirm the US commitment to the the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) as China continues to deploy missiles across the Taiwan Strait. The proposed legislation also urges the Bush administration to urge China to abandon the threat of the use of force against Taiwan. The bill would mark the 24th anniversary of the act, which was signed on April 10, 1979.

2003 April 22, China (People's Republic): According to Agence France Presse, on April 21st the China's Xinhua news agency reported that Chinese President Hu Jintao urged the United States Congress to play a "constructive role" in China's efforts to reunify Taiwan with the mainland. In a paraphrased interpretation, Hu reportedly told a visiting U.S. Senate delegation headed by William H. Frist, Senate majority leader, "The US has reiterated time and again that it will adhere to the one-China policy ..., and oppose the 'independence of Taiwan.' China hopes that the US side will keep its word and play a constructive role in China's peaceful reunification," Hu said.

2003 April 8, China (People's Republic): The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic has affected China and Taiwan's military readiness to an unknown degree, however, it is known that in China People's Liberation Army (PLA) hospitals are being used to provide care to SARS victims. According to a Time magazine report, Dr. Jiang Yanyong, a doctor serving at People's Liberation Army General Hospital No. 301 in Beijing, reported in a signed statement that of 60 SARS patients which had been admitted, seven had died. It is not known to what extent PLA hospitals have been utilize to treat SARS patients from the general populace or what affect it has had on the PLA to accommodate the health concerns of army personnel.

2003 April 30, Taiwan (National Republic): According to the Taiwan News, Koo Chen-fu, chairman of the semiofficial Straits Exchange Foundation, urged the resumption of talks between the two powers on April 29 in a statement marking the 10th anniversary of his meetings with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Daohan. "Ever since the Koo-Wang talks, cross-strait exchanges have flourished with the interests of people on both sides properly protected," Koo said in a statement.

2003 May 15, Taiwan (National Republic): According to a Reuters report, Taiwan has responded to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic by mobilizing its army to assist in containing the disease. All vacation leave for military personnel was canceled pending satisfactory control of the epidemic. The Taiwanese army's chemical warfare unit has been reportedly seen in the capital Taipei in protective gear and black gas masks disinfecting districts throughout the city.

2003 May 17, United States of America: According to the Washington Times, a Pentagon specialist recently reported that China has been increasing the number of short-range missiles on the coast opposite Taiwan. US Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Stokes reports China has deployed 450 missiles opposite Taiwan, with a further 150 more expect to be fielded by 2005, bring the total to 600. According to Stokes, China is deploying 75 additional missiles a year to the area, mainly CSS-6 and CSS-7s.

2003, July 28, United States of America: A Pentagon report officially released on this day projects a rise in short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs).

"China has approximately 450 short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) already in its deployed inventory. the number is expected to increase by over 75 missiles per year for the next few years. the accuracy and lethality of this force also are increasing. The PLA is developing variants of the CSS-6 that enables attacks against Okinawa when foreward-deployed or against Taiwan when deployed further inland. All of China's known SRBM assets are believed to be based in the Nanjing Military Region opposite Taiwan." [Click here for a map of the China-Taiwan Straits area with missile and air bases indicated]

2003, August 8, Taiwan (National Republic): According to Agence France Presse, Taiwan reports uncovering an alleged Chinese spy ring that may have stolen information regarding Taiwan's surface-to-air Tien Kung (Sky Bow) missile and air-to-air Tien Chien (Sky Sword) missile projects. Two Taiwanese citizensYeh Yu-chen, 54, reported to be a "technology firm boss" and Chen Shih-liang, 53, a technician at the military-run Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology were arrested as well as one Taiwanese-American Howard Hsi-tse Hsu, 57, a retired Boeing engineer of Seattle, Washington. Taiwan's Investigation Bureau reported that "the island's security and military capabilities had been seriously damaged by the alleged spy ring."

2003 September 1, China (People's Republic): China's Xinhua news agency reports that the government will cut eight-percent of the personnel from the PLA by the end of 2004. These cuts are in addition to the 500,000 personnel already eliminated from the ranks. Former president Jiang Zemin, head of the PLA in his role as chairman of the Communist Party's Central Military Commission, made the announcment during a visit to Changsha, capital of the southern province of Hunan. The cuts will lower PLA troop strength to 2.3 million as part of the governments efforts to improve efficiency and "accelerate modernization," Xinhua said.

Latest Update: September 9, 2003