By Patrick Tyler
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Additional resources for A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China
Critical to Taiwan's strategy will be the deployment of electronic warfare systems, missile defenses, and a robust air force to destroy China's missiles, warplanes, and air defenses at the outset of any conflict. Such a strategy could not succeed without an American commitment to resupply Taiwan. War with China is not inevitable. No side wishes it or sees it in its national interest. But the likelihood of military conflict is no longer decreasing, as it was in the decades diat followed President Nixon's opening to China.
It was, indeed, shocking. For the first time in its history, China had lashed out with a lethal new weapon that was remarkably accurate and could threaten the vital lifelines of Taiwan's economy. N o deployment of the Seventh Fleet, no aircraft carrier, no warplane could interpose itself to stop a barrage of ballistic missiles. Taiwan had no defense against them. These exercises raised die question of whether, in any future conflict, the mainland could win an air war over Taiwan without ever launching an aircraft.
Clinton argued that if he did not cave to congressional will, he would soon be facing binding legislation and a crisis over whether to veto it. ' In the aftermath of Lee's visit, the recriminations unfolded in stages. First there was silence from the mainland, then a muted reaction, then an eruption that seemed to originate in the Chinese military. " T h e first Chinese ballistic missiles, six of diem, were fired into the East China Sea nearly 100 miles north of Taiwan from July 21 to 26, 1995, causing die Taiwanese stock market to plunge.