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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lee Ridicules China

TAIPEI, Taiwan () -- As China reportedly marshaled 400,000 troops for war games off Taiwan, President Lee Teng-hui ridiculed the Beijing government Monday, saying it was "scared to death'' of his island's blossoming democracy.

Lee spoke shortly after a Hong Kong newspaper set off jitters in Taiwan by reporting that China will begin month-long exercises this week.

"They are scared to death of our historic presidential election,'' Lee said, referring to the March 23 poll, the first in which Taiwan will directly elect their president. Lee, who is expected to win the election, said China's actions were "uncalled for,'' and that "both sides should replace military confrontation with peaceful civilian contacts.''