Thu, Jan 27, 2005 - Page 3 News List

MAC head wants US to decry anti-secession law


The US should intensify its opposition to China's proposed anti-secession law aimed at Taiwan because "quiet diplomacy" will not resolve the volatile issue, according to a senior Taiwanese official.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said in an interview late on Monday that there may be no way to stop Beijing from enacting the law, which Taiwan and US officials say will inflame cross-strait tensions.

The proposed anti-secession law is seen by analysts as a Chinese effort to justify a military invasion of democratic Taiwan, thus preventing what Beijing views as moves toward formal Taiwanese independence.

Senior US officials privately describe the proposed law as a threat to regional peace, but have said little in public.

US officials have argued that they could exert more influence on Beijing through "quiet diplomacy" and that they want to see the text of the law before speaking out, Wu said.

In Taiwan, "we are quite afraid that if they [Americans] don't make public opposition to the law by the time the [the specific text of the law is published], it may be too late already," Wu said.

"If you look at the concept of the law it's really very provocative. So we tried to relay our position and our worries to the American side," he added.

Wu was in Washington to attend US President George W. Bush's inauguration and hold talks -- mainly on the anti-secession law -- with administration officials and US China experts.

Wu described the law as Beijing's attempt to unilaterally change the status quo between the two cross-strait rivals and to taunt Taiwan into taking countermeasures, which he insisted "are not on the agenda at this moment."

But, he added: "I think the US administration, or the United States in general, including friends in Congress and think tanks, need to express in a clear way their opposition to the anti-secession law."

Chinese authorities are expected to take up the law at the National People's Congress in March and seem increasingly determined to enact it, Wu said.

Still, he said, "we are trying to see if we can reverse the Chinese decision to enact the law [by having the proposal sent first to committee for an extended period] so we have sufficient time to turn things around."

Wu departed Los Angeles Tuesday for Taiwan after concluding a week-long visit in the US.

Wu told reporters before his departure that the government has a consistent policy towards China and that the MAC will continue to work to promote cooperation across the Taiwan Strait after the new Cabinet is inaugurated Feb. 1.

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