Over the past 18 months, Western intelligence agencies have detected an unusually high level of activity in China's shipyards. Workers are riveting together frigates and destroyers at a furious pace, and for the first time have begun building advanced Song-class submarines in two locations. And China's latest-generation nuclear-powered submarine should be ready for launch in 2005, about five years ahead of schedule. The rate of construction has stepped up "to an amazing degree," says a Western diplomat in Beijing. "The time frame of China's military options has moved forward."
In other words, if Chen Shui-bian takes his...
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