Tue, Mar 15, 2005 - Page 1 News List

MAC blasts law as an `irrational act'

HARSH CRITICISM Taiwan's officials said an apology and concrete gestures from China were needed to salvage cross-strait relations after it passed the `anti-secession' law


Cooperation on cargo flights "would show that Beijing is sorry, but it would be like hitting me 10 times and then offering a small bandage," Wu said.

Wu yesterday denied that Taiwan planned to put a freeze on interaction with China in light of the law, saying only that preserving the national interest would be the government's guiding principle in formulating its China policy.

He dodged questions on the relaxation of cross-strait financial and economic regulations, saying only that the anti-secession law would be taken into consideration in the government's assessment of these measures.

Wu reiterated that the government would not champion "anti-annexation" or "anti-invasion" legislation proposed by pan-green camp legislators, and as yet did not plan to hold a referendum on the matter.It is clear that Beijing's law, which states clearly that the "Taiwan question" is an internal affair, also aims to send a message to the international community. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) at a news conference after the bill was reiterated China's assertion that Taiwan is strictly an internal Chinese matter and cautioned outsiders not to get involved.

"We do not wish to see foreign interference," Wen said, referring explicitly to the US and Japan. "However, we do not fear foreign interference."

"We hope all the countries and people in the world that uphold the `one-China' principle and want peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait will support this law," he said.

In a joint declaration last month, Japan and the US for the first time described peace in the Taiwan Strait as their "common security concern."

Wen said the "anti-secession" law was not a "war bill" and that it wasn't meant to change the status quo in the Strait.

"This is a law advancing peaceful unification between the sides," Wen said.

"It is not targeted at the people of Taiwan, nor is it a war bill," he added.

"So long as there is a ray of hope, we will do our utmost to promote a peaceful reunification," Wen said.

In an apparent effort to mollify Washington, which says it doesn't want to see either side change the status quo unilaterally, Wen said the law "is not aimed to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, which is that both sides belong to one country."

Wen also referred to the US Civil War of the 1860s, saying the law resembles resolutions passed by the US Congress before the states of the southern Confederacy seceded and war erupted.

"We here do not wish to see such a situation," Wen said at the nationally televised news conference.

The MAC was skeptical however, asking why Beijing had lobbied for support with the US and Europe prior to the bill's passing if it did not fear foreign intervention.

"The best countermeasure right now is international condemnation," Wu said, indicating that Beijing had already begun to buckle under foreign pressure, with Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office head Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) issuing an unusual late-night press statement on Friday defending the law, and Wen reiterating China's willingness to relax restrictions on agricultural imports during his press conference yesterday.

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