China stages military exercises

China has launched military exercises, the government said Friday, days after rival Taiwan's leader angered Beijing by scrapping an agency dedicated to eventually unifying the two sides.

The exercises, involving land, naval and air forces, began Wednesday and simulated "modern battle that is characterized by modern information technology," the official China Daily newspaper said.

On Monday, Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian announced the termination of the self-governing, democratic island's National Unification Council, along with guidelines calling for uniting Taiwan with the communist mainland.

The two sides split amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing considers Taiwan to be Chinese territory and has repeatedly threatened to attack if the Taiwanese take steps toward formal independence.

The state-run newspaper did not mention Taiwan in the report about military exercises.

Also Friday, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the advisory body to the legislature, began its annual session ahead of a meeting of the legislature, called the National People's Congress.

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