Chen accuses China of threatening peace
TAIPEI: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Saturday called China’s proposed anti-secession law a great threat to peace and warned Beijing not to underestimate the island’s determination to defend its sovereignty.
Chen said in a New Year’s address the law would provide a legal basis to invade Taiwan and allow China to unilaterally arbitrate cross-strait issues. “Such actions will not only unilaterally change the status quo of peace in the Taiwan Strait, but will also pose the greatest threat to regional stability and world peace,” he said.
The anti-secession law, which China says is aimed at peaceful reunification with the self-ruled, democratic island it claims as its own, will be debated at a full session of China’s rubber-stamp National People’s Congress in March.
“We once again urge the Chinese Communist Party authorities not to underestimate the will of the Taiwan people in defending the sovereignty, security and dignity of the Republic of China,” Chen said, using the island’s official title. Taiwan split from the mainland at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, but Beijing still sees the island of 23 million as part of Chinese territory and has pledged to bring it back into the fold, by force if necessary.
Tensions have been simmering in the Taiwan Strait since Chen’s re-election in March 2004, as moves by the pro-independence leader to foster a separate Taiwan identity have made China’s communist leaders increasingly nervous. In his New Year’s Eve speech, Chinese President Hu Jintao warned against moves towards Taiwan independence and said bilateral talks could resume as soon as possible on the basis that there was only one China.
“We will definitely not allow anyone to separate Taiwan from China by any means,” Hu said. reuters