19 Jul 2005
On the flight back to Shanghai I was looking at an English language Korean newspaper. The article that caught my eye was the one about General Zhu Chenghu of the PLA stating that China was prepared to nuke America over the Taiwan issue if it came to that. Later it was emphasized that the general’s remarks were his personal opinions, and not indicative of official policy.
Richard at Peking Duck wrote about this already, but the story he quoted left out the best line (which I have bolded):
> “If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” he told an official briefing for foreign journalists.
> Zhu said the reason was the inability of China to wage a conventional war against Washington.
> “If the Americans are determined to interfere … we will be determined to respond,” he said.
> “We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xi’an. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds … of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese,” he added. [source]
Ummm… did he say “the destruction of all of the cities east of Xi’an?!” Yes, I believe he did. That’s basically all of China’s major cities. That’s what Taiwan is worth to him. Absolutely ridiculous. After public comments like that, I certainly hope that the head honchos in Beijing were saying, “OK, he doesn’t get to talk to the press anymore.”
So after reading that on the plane, my girlfriend and I were met at the airport by her parents. On the ride home, my girlfriend mentioned to her mom what I had read in the newspaper on the airplane.
Her reaction? “What? No, that never happened. That never happened.”
I’ve got to say, I’m a bit disappointed. She’s a smart lady. But then, it was a really outlandish statement.