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The Taiwan Strait Missile Crisis

The Taiwan Strait missile crisis was triggered by a series of military exercises conducted by the Chinese government in 1995 and 1996 to deter a visible display of separatist ambitions on Taiwan and to counter U.S. diplomatic provocation.

Lee Teng-hui, a proponent of Taiwan independence, visited the United States from June 7 to 11, 1995, after the U.S. government revoked a 17-year ban on visits by high-level Taiwanese officials to the United States in a policy reversal that seriously undermined the political basis for Sino-US relations. The U.S. government also gave its backing to the Taiwanese authorities in promoting the "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" policy, encouraging the Taiwanese authorities and international anti-China forces to launch further and more egregious initiatives. In order to maintain regional peace, deter further moves by Taiwanese separatists, and respond to U.S. diplomatic provocation, China conducted two large-scale live-firing missile exercises in July 1995 and March 1996. The rapid escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait that followed was called the "Taiwan Strait missile crisis."

A potent deterrent against attempts to spit the nation, the "Taiwan Strait missile crisis"demonstrated the firm resolve of the Chinese government to preserve national unity, and sent an unequivocal message to the Clinton administration that it should be clear about the sensitive nature of the Taiwan question and the importance of Sino-US relations.

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