Fri, Feb 04, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Gestures are grand, but China remains hostile, MAC says

STAFF WRITER

Despite what is seen as a recent thaw in cross-strait relations China has not backed off from taking a hard line with Taiwan, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) was quoted as saying in Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po yesterday.

Pointing to Beijing's proposed anti-secession bill, Chiu said that no matter what was in the text of the bill, it risked taking cross-strait relations in a negative direction. While the bill is scheduled to be reviewed and passed by Beijing's highest legislative organ, the National People's Congress, on March 5, the bill's text has yet to be released to the public.

"This [the anti-secession bill] is an unnecessary move that destroys the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. No matter what the text of the bill is, it brings a certain amount of risk to cross-strait interaction and exchange," Chiu was quoted as saying.

"Especially because the law would define an act of `secession,' it poses too big a risk for Taiwanese people not only politically but also in doing business," Chiu said.

While the launch of cross-strait charter flights last month and the arrival this week of senior Chinese officials in Taiwan has led to talk of improved ties between Taiwan and China, officials have taken a more cautious attitude. Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) warned that in regard to the threats that China posed on the military and diplomatic fronts, no change could be detected. In addition, Wu's predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is currently a Democratic Progressive Party legislator-at-large, concurred, telling the press on Wednesday that it was too early to say there was any thaw in chilly cross-strait relations.

"The crux of cross-strait relations is the `one China' principle ? it would be very difficult for Taiwan and China to resolve this in the short-term," Chiu said.

He said that the anti-secession law was an unnecessary move, adding that "if Taiwan's international space decreases, voices calling for independence will only increase." He said the bill would have unintended consequences and results. Chiu further said that the US and Japan had both expressed that the law was unnecessary and would destabilize the East Asian region.

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