China: November 7, 2002

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Taiwan's military has pointed out that the new direct air links with China make Taiwan vulnerable to sneak attacks via Chinese commercial aircraft, or military aircraft pretending to be commercial flights. Taiwan is on 200 kilometers from the Chinese mainland, which translates to about seven minutes flying time. Once over Taiwan, where people on the ground could see that the "commercial" flights were actually military, these bombers would be able to attacks key targets in Taiwan's capital in less than a minute. The Chinese could also send in transports with commandos on board. While these fears are real, they are not practical. The number of commercial flights will be limited, and would not comprise enough aircraft to constitute a decisive air strike. But the fact that the Taiwanese military brought the subject up publicly shows how seriously the Chinese military threat is taken.

 

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