Taiwan Troops Take Positions

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TAIPEI: Taiwanese troops have reportedly taken up positions on outlying islands to defend against a possible beach assault as China prepares to begin another round of war games. The China Times reported today that preparations are being made on the Chu islands as China is expected to take advantage of Monday's high tide to practice beach landings on nearby Pingtan Island. About 300 people, more than half the population of the islands, and hundreds of fishing boats have fled the area. Because of bad weather, the eight- day exercises will be smaller in scale than the live-fire war games that started last Tuesday. China hasn't said whether its troops will use live ammunition in today's latest round of games, which will involve planes, ships and troops. The war games are part of an effort by Beijing to intimidate Taiwan before its upcoming elections on Saturday. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province, and it fears Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, who is running for reelection, is pushing the island toward independence. Despite Beijing's claims that the intimidation tactics have weakened Lee's candidacy, opinion polls show Lee's support has been stable since the attacks began, and he is still expected to win reelection. "This kind of bullying mentality will only make those Chinese people who are yearning for freedom and democracy more disgusted with the Communist regime," Lee said. 'They shall not achieve their purpose."