Sat, Feb 19, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: China's pressing for `legal warfare'

China's rapidly strengthening military power is a matter of concern for Asian nations such as Taiwan and Japan. China is now adding a new fuse to the powder keg -- an anti-secession law, thereby making conflict in the Asia-Pacific region more possible.

During a meeting in Beijing to discuss national defense early this month, the US deputy under secretary of defense for Asia Pacific affairs, Richard Lawless, warned that China is "deliberately creating or raising tension in its relationship with Taiwan."

During a hearing with former CIA Director James Woolsey in the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee recently, Woolsey included China among the greatest threats to the US, saying that when China is faced with hard-fought domestic issues, Taiwan and the US are its easiest targets. Robert Zoellick, recently appointed deputy secretary of state, has said that the US hopes that the anti-secession legislation issue will not cause China to act against US wishes. The co-chairman of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, Steve Chabot, an Ohio Republican, has also proposed a bill to point out that China's anti-secession legislation will amount to unilateral change in the cross-strait status quo, that it conflicts with long-standing US cross-strait policy, and that the US should express its opposition.

CIA director Porter Goss said to the US Congress "if Beijing decides that Taiwan is taking steps toward a permanent separation that exceeds Beijing's tolerance ... China is prepared to respond with varying levels of force." Also, China's escalating military strength is jeopardizing the cross-strait military balance, and poses a threat to US interests in the region.

The conciliatory atmosphere resulting from the implementation of Lunar New Year charter and cargo flights has blinded Taiwanese to the conflict over the anti-secession law and anti-annexation law. This added tension is not because of democracy in Taiwan, but the lack of it in China. China may well have been going through a transformation under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and now Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), but there has been precious little change in their policies and stance regarding Taiwan, and they continue to uphold "one China" and "one country, two systems" policies. And Beijing's push for a political showdown with Taiwan through a "legal war" is unlikely to improve relations.

The purpose of enacting China's anti-secession law is to split Taiwan, dividing a main enemy from a secondary enemy on the island. The "main enemy" are those who espouse Taiwan's independence, while the "secondary enemy" are those who favor independence for the Republic of China (ROC). Beijing will first strike Taiwanese independence activists and then clamp down on ROC independence. This anti-secession law targets Taiwan, with the ultimate goal being to annex the island. People in Taiwan should be psychologically prepared and united in the face of this threat.

Although the anti-secession law is only a domestic law in China, when Beijing signs a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations with other countries, they are expected to acknowledge, recognize and respect the idea that Taiwan is part of China.

Although China's hackneyed statement is not in accordance with the actual situation, China can still use such diplomatic communiques as a way to acquire support for the anti-secession law in the international community. Taiwan has to respond properly and be prepared for imminent legal and propaganda warfare.

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