Sat, Nov 09, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Chen warns nation over China threats

STAYING VIGILANT After Jiang Zemin addressed the 16th National Congress, President Chen said that Taiwan must not lower its guard against China's threat of force

By Lin Chieh-Yu, Crystal Hsu and Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTERS WITH AGENCIES

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called on the nation to consider the many threats posed by China including its military intimidation and united-front tactics after Chinese President Jiang Zemin (江澤民) refused to rule out the use of force.

The president said that Taiwan should not lower its guard and indulge itself in the idea that China's so-called "three-links" and "cross-strait direct flights" mean that tensions have subsided.

"Among others, we must face up to a series of recent incidents in which ships from China had sailed close to or even trespassed into Taiwan's territorial waters, a move that undermined the peace across the Strait," Chen said.

The president commended the marines' efforts in safeguarding the country's security. He then encouraged them to shoulder their responsibility as part of the nation's armed forces, set up command links to consolidate their unity and to facilitate the interaction between the military and civilians in support of national defense.

Chen made the comments after reviewing an anti-terrorism drill at the southern naval base of Tsoying in Kaohsiung in the wake of Jiang's speech at the 16th Communist Party Congress which kicked off yesterday.

Jiang reiterated China's refusal to rule out the use of force while outlining the Chinese position on Taiwan.

"Our position of never undertaking to renounce the use of force is not directed at our Taiwan compatriots," Jiang said.

"It is aimed at the foreign forces' attempts to interfere in China's reunification and the Taiwan separatist forces' schemes for Taiwan independence," Jiang said.

In the speech, Jiang also called for renewed dialogue with Taiwan, using gentler language than usual but still not wavering from the "one China" principle.

"Here we reiterate our appeal: On the basis of the `one China' principle, let us shelve for now certain political disputes and resume cross-strait dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible," Jiang said. "The Taiwan question must not be allowed to drag on indefinitely."

Chen's comments were widely viewed as a response to Jiang's remarks.

Chen emphasized that military forces, or the threat of missiles and war, could not be used as bargaining chips in dealing with cross-strait affairs. Otherwise, the president argued, any talk of peace and interacting on an equal footing would ring hollow.

"On the other hand, everybody must realize that if we do not have adequate national defenses, the PRC will have our government and people at its beck and call," he said. "If we can't defend our national security, why would China negotiate with us?"

Meanwhile, Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday that Taiwan welcomes cross-strait dialogue without preconditions but added the "one country, two systems" formula has no appeal to its people.

"I also hope that the two sides can sit down and talk on any subject including the `one China' issue," the premier said in the legislature when asked by a lawmaker to comment on Jiang's speech.

"But the talks should not have preset conditions," he said, referring to Beijing's insistence that the DPP government recognize that Taiwan is part of China before resuming dialogue.

Commenting on Jiang's call for the resumption of cross-strait talks, Yu reiterated to the legislature that the ROC, having its own constitution, territory, government and people, is an independent sovereignty and that "the one country, two systems" solution proposed by China has no support here.

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