Wed, Mar 16, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Foreign affairs minister urges world to take action

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AP AND DPA

Calling on the international community to oppose China's "anti-secession" law and take note of the threat Taiwan faces, the nation's top diplomat yesterday urged the world not to stand idly by as it did when Adolf Hitler slaughtered millions of Jews in Auschwitz.

"Do not think that this threat is none of your business because it is happening in Taiwan. Why were millions of Jews killed in Auschwitz? That happened because many countries simply stood idly by while Hitler committed the atrocity," Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) said.

Chen and Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman David Huang (黃偉峰) held a closed-door meeting with foreign diplomats in Taipei at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday afternoon to explain Taiwan's stance on the law.

More than 60 diplomats attended the meeting, but insiders said few asked questions after Chen and Huang explained Taiwan's concerns about the law. The diplomats were tight-lipped when asked by reporters about their countries' opinions on the Chinese law.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Chen said the world's reaction to the anti-secession law was overwhelmingly negative.

"According to information collected by our overseas representative offices, most countries oppose China resorting to non-peaceful means to deal with Taiwan," he said.

The Chinese legislation enables many countries, which often regard Taiwan as the troublemaker in cross-strait relations, to "see the authoritarian side of China," the minister said.

"Now they have seen the true face of China and know that Taiwan is a peace-loving country. We never want to provoke China and will never do so," he said.

Despite the ministry's strenuous lobbying of the international community to oppose the legislation, China passed the law on Monday. Chen urged the world community to take action against the law.

Meanwhile, the EU on Monday reacted with concern about the anti-secession law and urged China and Taiwan to talk.

"The EU urges all sides to avoid unilateral actions, which can increase tensions," said a declaration published on Monday by the EU Council president, currently occupied by Luxembourg.

"The union would be very concerned if the passage of this law, which threatens violent means, would destroy the newest moves toward rapprochement of the two sides," the EU said.

The EU urged China and Taiwan to return to a "constructive dialogue," the only path that can be of use to both sides.

Beijing and Taipei should continue to communicate and take the initiative along the lines of the agreement made earlier this year to establish direct flights, the statement said.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that France supported China's unification with Taiwan but said it could be achieved only through a peaceful resolution.

The Central News Agency on Sunday quoted a French diplomat, who requested anonymity, as saying that France opposed all moves that would unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.

The diplomat declined to comment about whether the new law would change the EU's position on lifting its arms embargo on China, saying EU countries would continue discussing the issue.

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard was vague yesterday about how his country might react to a war between China and Taiwan, a day after foreign minister Alexander Downer said Australia would not necessarily back the US if it were drawn into such a conflict.

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