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Date Posted: 10:34 10/06/2004

Taiwan to attack Three Gorges Dam shock

Bluff and bluster continues across the Taiwan Strait

AT THE beginning of the week, the former head of the Three Gorges Corporation, Lu Youmei, said in an interview with the Beijing newspaper, Xin Jing Bao, that the dam could only be destroyed by a nuclear attack, and that conventional strikes would not be able to inflict enough damage.

Reports suggest that the Pentagon has recommended the bombing of the Three Gorges as a defence strategy for Taiwan, hoping that it will 'deter' Chinese military attacks. This, of course, would only be a last resort, and would only take place once the battle has been lost, when mainland troops have already begun to sweep onto the island.

In the game of bluff and counterbluff going on across the Strait, this latest move is similar to the reports about Operation Scorpion which circulated in the Chinese media late last year, detailing the strategy of the Taiwanese defence forces and accompanied by a number of maudlin accounts of the Taiwanese families who had made their home here in Shanghai, which was described in the articles as the first target of Taiwanese air strikes.

The three gorges dam being constructed

An analyst quoted in the Taiwan media suggested that the ideal solution would be a nuclear 'deterrent' on the island. The possibility that the United States might supply nuclear arms to Taiwan is nil, but would the United States threaten nuclear war were China to invade?

Destroying the Dam will, according to some military analysts, drown about 100 million residents downstream. The Pentagon does not believe that war will break out until 2010, which at least gives the beleaguered peasants along the banks of the Yangtze another six years to move to safer climes.

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