Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 3 News List

MAC expresses concern over new anti-secession bill


China's proposed anti-secession bill amounts to a more serious potential source of cross-strait tension than the previously touted unification law, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.

"We are the Republic of China and they are the People's Republic of China. This has been the reality for 55 years now. The [anti-secession bill's] precondition that the two be a unified entity would effectively mean they can enact legislation to penalize any sort of deviation from what they define the status quo to be," MAC Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday during an interview with TVBS.

"Who would be defining reality? China. Who would be enacting this legislation? China. Who would judge whether the law had been trespassed? China. Who doles out penalties? China. So who is unilaterally changing the status quo?" Wu asked.

Wu said the international community needed to understand that the anti-secession bill was a serious provocation and one that Taiwan could not tolerate.

His warning comes after the council admitted last week that the US had relayed Chinese government plans to consider a draft anti-secession law during the National People's Congress, which will be held from this Saturday to the following Wednesday. Taiwanese officials and political observers were previously expecting China to enact a unification law.

According to the council's legal affairs director, Jeff Yang (楊家駿), Wu offered the same reasoning at a consultative meeting yesterday as well.

"[Wu] said during the meeting that he felt the unification law accepted the state of separation [across the Taiwan Strait] as read. The anti-secession law, however, will assume a state of unification," Yang said.

Yang added that Wu had warned that it would be therefore appropriate to take a cautious position in determining whether the anti-secession law in fact represented a softening of the Chinese stance, as some believed.

The anti-secession bill might not be all bad news for cross-strait ties, however. An official who spoke on condition of anonymity pointed to the possibility of a two-pronged strategy on China's part. He said that even while China was targeting Taiwan with the law, it was unlikely that the wording of the law would include Taiwan.

The legislation would be geared towards satisfying domestic pressure in taking a hard line with Taiwan, he said.

"It is possible that with the anti-secession law in place, China would have more room to pursue non-political matters, such as Lunar New Year charter flights," the official told the Taipei Times, saying that there was a still a chance that the flights might be arranged in time.

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