An Ominous Threat

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BEIJING: In a move sure to test already strained U.S. relations with China, The New York Times reports that China has prepared plans for a missile attack against Taiwan should the renegade province re-elect its pro-independence president in March. The Times story says that Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Freeman, who met with senior Chinese military leaders earlier in the winter, told national security advisor Anthony Lake that the Chinese army had plans to fire a missile a day at Taiwan for 30 days if President Lee Tengui doesn't embrace a one-China policy after his expected re-election. "The Chinese are trying to intimidate the Taiwanese electorate into not to re-electing President Lee," says TIME's Oscar Chiang. "The military leaders are waging a psychological war with Taiwan. This plan could backfire because it could move the voters to unite behind Lee, which is exactly what the Chinese do not want. But the threats might not be necessary, however. I expect Lee to move toward a reconciliation policy with the mainland after he is elected."