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CHINA FIRES MORE MISSILES NEAR TAIWAN

China has fired missiles into waters north of Taiwan for the second time in a month in military exercises that have angered Washington and worry Taiwan.

Chinese warplanes and ships fired the guided missiles Thursday at an area 82 miles north of Taiwan, Taiwan's defense ministry said Friday. Short-range air-to-air, ship-to-ship and ship-to-air missiles were fired, as well as live artillery, the ministry said.Last month China fired six surface-to-surface missiles in the same area, prompting protests from Washington. President Clinton warned the tests could undermine regional peace.

The missile firings occurred the same day as an underground nuclear test. Criticism of that test continued to pour in. Japan renewed a threat to cut financial aid and the United States and Russia urged China to refrain from any more tests.

China had announced it would conduct a second round of military exercises Aug. 15-25. Its planes and ships spent Tuesday and Wednesday in cruising maneuvers and tactical formations, Taiwan's defense ministry said.

The tests have sent jitters through Taiwan, which sees them as an attempt to intimidate the government into calling off its campaign for international recognition.

To calm the public and boost morale, Taiwanese military chiefs have toured Taiwanese islets near the southern Chinese coast.

Taiwan's China Times newspaper quoted unidentified officials as saying authorities decided to go ahead with Taiwan's annual military exercise in October, while reducing their scale to avoid provoking China.

The Clinton administration is sending a senior official to Beijing for talks Aug. 24-27 about the missile tests near Taiwan and the detention of Harry Wu, a Chinese-American, on spy charges.

Relations have deteriorated since Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui visited the United States in June. Although it was a private trip, Taiwanese viewed it as a diplomatic victory over Beijing, which considers the island a rebel province with no right to pursue foreign relations.