Tue, Dec 14, 2004 - Page 4 News List

No let-up in cross-strait tensions, Beijing cautions

AFP , BEIJING

China's state-run media yesterday gloated over the setback handed to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in the legislative elections, but warned cross-strait tensions would continue unabated.

While the Chinese government said it had no immediate comment, the English-language China Daily, often used as tool by Beijing to get its views across, ran a headline screaming "Sep-aratist plan goes nowhere."

Despite the setback, the newspaper said it was not a decisive blow and Chen still had the executive power to introduce pro-independence policies, war-ning him he was walking a "tough and dangerous road."

Citing leading Chinese researchers, it said cross-strait tensions were unlikely to ease in the aftermath of the elections.

"The key issue here is whether Chen will stop his pro-independence push or forge ahead with his separatist timetable af-ter the polls," said Wu Nengyuan (吳能遠), director of the Institute of Modern Taiwan Studies under the Fujian Academy of Social Sciences.

"If he takes more radical pro-independence steps to challenge the mainland, new tensions will be inflamed across the Strait," he said.

He said that given Chen's "obstinate insistence on a pro-independence stance," he may step up his push for his "separatist timetable."

Li Jiaquan (李家泉), a senior researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the result demonstrated the Taiwanese people's growing dissatisfaction with Chen's "radical" pro-independence steps.

But like Wu, he said bilateral ties would remain strained.

"Cross-Straits [sic] ties may become more unstable if Chen keeps pushing his separatist agenda," he said.

The newspaper also took a swipe at Chen's plan to drop the word "China" from the names of government agencies and government-controlled enterprises in favor of "Taiwan."

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