Thu, Sep 30, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Australian Senate’s praise of cross-strait ties angers Beijing

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

A resolution passed by the Australian Senate praising “warming relations” between Taiwan and China was strongly condemned by the Chinese ambassador in Canberra on the grounds that it violated Beijing’s “one China” principle.

The motion, passed in June, states that the upper house “welcomes the signing of various bilateral agreements between China and Taiwan ... since May 2008,” in reference to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) policies.

The motion also encouraged the two countries to further enhance dialogue, practical cooperation and confidence-building steps, saying that would have “a positive effect on the stability and security of the Asia-Pacific region.”

The resolution is believed to be the first time the Australian Senate has offered its opinion on the cross-strait situation in recent years. It came one month after the US Senate introduced a resolution supporting Taiwan’s entry into the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported on Tuesday that the Senate motion had angered Beijing, with Chinese Ambassador Zhang Junsai (章均賽) writing to the Senate president last month to criticize its passage.

“Zhang took particular umbrage with the use of the expression ‘bilateral agreements’ in the resolution,” the report said.

The envoy was quoted as saying in a letter tabled to parliament on Tuesday that it was inappropriate for the democratic body to “comment on the question of Taiwan, an internal affair of China.”

“There is only one China in the world. Both the Mainland (sic) and China [sic] belong to the one and same China,” Zhang wrote.

His comments are further evidence that the Chinese government is still willing to issue strong condemnations on technical matters, including how Taiwan is termed alongside China.

Zhang compared Taiwan-China ties to the relationship between “a state or territory in Australia and the commonwealth,” adding that the Chinese government would eventually solve its “sensitive political, military and security issues” with Taiwan.

“[We will] deal with easier issues first and the thorny ones later,” he said, referring to economic and political issues, the SMH report said. “We will … look for the right time to approach and solve them step by step.”

The newspaper also quoted Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) as saying that he was delighted with the motion, adding that Taiwan would continue to “do its utmost to engage in dialogue and negotiations with Beijing.”

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