Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 2 News List

US lawmakers urge opposition to Beijing's law

AFP , WASHINGTON

The Bush administration is under pressure from Congress to strongly oppose a prospective Chinese law laying the basis to seize Taiwan by force if it declares independence, officials said on Tuesday.

The plenary session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, will next month consider the "anti-secession law," the draft of which has already been cleared by the policy-making body of the rubber-stamp legislature.

"The Chinese government is moving the situation closer to a violent conclusion," said Carolyn Bartholomew of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

"It is simply unacceptable" for US President George W. Bush, who has vowed to champion freedom during his second term in office, "to allow the free and democratic people of Taiwan to fall under the domination of China's authoritarian government," Bartholomew said.

Her Congress-mandated commission has been pushing for a tough US approach to China on trade and security.

The anti-secession legislation could make it illegal for Taiwan to declare independence and might create the legal basis for China to take the nation by force or pressure it to accept reunification, political analysts have said.

US lawmakers have attacked the planned legislation and have requested China's parliament provide a copy of the statute, which has not been made public.

"No one has the text, but there is concern that this would be lead to either a change in the status quo or the implication of the threat of the possible use of force," said Dennis Halpin, a senior staff at the House of Representatives' international relations panel.

US lawmakers in the panel have introduced two resolutions in what is seen as possible retaliation if Beijing passed the law. One resolution demands the resumption of diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

"The resolutions that have been introduced in the House call upon the president and the administration to be more vocal in telling Beijing the US concerns about this legislation," Halpin said.

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