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Beijing intended to send a message to the Taiwanese electorate that voting for Lee Teng-hui in the 1996 presidential election meant war. A third set of PLA tests from March 8 to March 15 (just shortly preceding the March 23 election), sent missiles within 25 to 35 miles (just inside the ROC's territorial waters) off the ports of Keelung and Kaohsiung. Over 70 percent of commercial shipping passed through the targeted ports, which were disrupted by the proximity of the tests. Flights to Japan and trans-Pacific flights were prolonged by ten minutes because airplanes needed to detour away from the flight path. Ships traveling between Kaohsiung and Hong Kong had to take a two-hour detour.
 
Beijing intended to send a message to the Taiwanese electorate that voting for Lee Teng-hui in the 1996 presidential election meant war. A third set of PLA tests from March 8 to March 15 (just shortly preceding the March 23 election), sent missiles within 25 to 35 miles (just inside the ROC's territorial waters) off the ports of Keelung and Kaohsiung. Over 70 percent of commercial shipping passed through the targeted ports, which were disrupted by the proximity of the tests. Flights to Japan and trans-Pacific flights were prolonged by ten minutes because airplanes needed to detour away from the flight path. Ships traveling between Kaohsiung and Hong Kong had to take a two-hour detour.
   
On March 8, 1996, also a presidential election year in the U.S., the U.S. government under President Clinton announced that it was deploying the [[USS Independence (CV-62)|''Independence'']] [[carrier battle group]] (CVBG), already stationed in the western Pacific, to international waters near Taiwan. On the following day, the PRC announced live-fire exercises to be conducted near Penghu from March 12–20. On March 11, the U.S. despatched [[Carrier Group Seven]], centered around [[USS Nimitz (CVN-68)|''Nimitz'']], which steamed at high speed from the Persian Gulf. Tensions rose further on March 15 when Beijing announced a simulated amphibious assault planned for March 18–25.
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On March 8, 1996, also a presidential election year in the U.S., the U.S. government under President Clinton announced that it was deploying the [[USS Independence (CV-62)|''Independence'']] [[carrier battle group]] (CVBG), already stationed in the western Pacific, to international waters near Taiwan. On the following day, the PRC announced live-fire exercises to be conducted near [[Penghu]] from March 12–20. On March 11, the U.S. despatched [[Carrier Group Seven]], centered around [[USS Nimitz (CVN-68)|''Nimitz'']], which steamed at high speed from the Persian Gulf. Tensions rose further on March 15 when Beijing announced a simulated amphibious assault planned for March 18–25.
   
 
Sending two carrier battle groups showed not only a symbolic gesture towards the ROC, but a readiness to fight on the part of the U.S. The ROC government and Democratic Progressive Party welcomed America's support, but staunch unificationist presidential candidate [[Lin Yang-kang]] and the PRC decried "foreign intervention."
 
Sending two carrier battle groups showed not only a symbolic gesture towards the ROC, but a readiness to fight on the part of the U.S. The ROC government and Democratic Progressive Party welcomed America's support, but staunch unificationist presidential candidate [[Lin Yang-kang]] and the PRC decried "foreign intervention."

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