Taiwan’s president says he feels the threat of terrorism – but it’s not from rogue groups of stateless fanatics.

It’s from the largest country in the world – mainland China.

At an international security conference in Taipei yesterday, Chen Shi-bian called Beijing’s militarism the greatest threat to security in the region.

”Terrorism … poses grave threats to our security,” he said. ”However, in the long term, an even more serious challenge is China’s rapid military build-up in the absence of any actual or perceived military threat against it,” he said.

Speaking to 60 legislators from 16 countries, Chen announced the formation of the Taiwan Democracy Foundation to promote democracy globally.

”Taiwan has pro-actively participated in anti-terrorist activities and humanitarian aid efforts,” he said. “However, I must remind the international community that only democracy, not anti-terrorism campaigns, can cure the root of the problem.”

The International Inter-parliamentary Conference on Asia-Pacific Security included delegations from the U.S., Britain, EU and Russia. The Chairman of the mainland National People’s Congress, Li Peng, was invited but declined.

Chen pointed to Taiwan as proof that democracy and human rights were compatible with Chinese values.

”We are deeply troubled by China’s strategic aims,” he said. ”Moreover, China is an undemocratic regime that has been brutal toward its people and hegemonic toward its neighbors.”

Chen was joined by Vice President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien in calling for more pressure from the international community to force Beijing to remove the more than 400 missiles it has aimed at
Taiwan.

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