Mon, Mar 20, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Australian calls for cross-strait peace


An Australian legislator urged China and Taiwan to resolve their issues peacefully yesterday, while a Japanese legislator said the people of Taiwan had the right to determine their own future.

China's "Anti-Secession" Law passed last year has aggravated the cross-strait situation, but members of the international community hope that China and Taiwan will solve their differences peacefully, a visiting Australian parliamentarian said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Yasuhiro Oe, a senator from the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, who also spoke at the colloquium, said that Taiwan's future should be determined by its people.

The Taiwanese people's will should not be altered by any other country and China should not intimidate Taiwan with force, the Japanese senator said, claiming that countries around the world would not sit idly by if China uses force against Taiwan.

However, Margaret May, chairwoman of the Australia-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, said challenges indeed exist in the efforts to improve cross-strait relations, but both sides of the Taiwan Strait are expected to demonstrate goodwill to each other. She made the remarks during a speech delivered at an international colloquium hosted by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to mark the 10th anniversary of the Taiwan Strait crisis.

Despite the increasingly close business and trade exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, the political impasse between Taiwan and China has become more serious, May said.

May said it was thought that the opening of cross-strait direct charter flight services during the Lunar New Year holiday two years ago would contribute to easing cross-strait tension, but ties became even more volatile last year after Beijing's passage of its Anti-Secession Law, authorizing the use of force against Taiwan if it edges toward formal independence.

She said Australia was neither happy to see China's passage of the law targeting Taiwan, nor pleased to see China tackle the cross-strait problem by non-peaceful means, adding that Australia hopes that China will accelerate its democratization.

On President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent ceasing of the function of the National Unification Council and the National Unification Guidelines, May said it seems that the move deviates from Chen's "five noes" pledge, which she said has caused concern to the Australian government.

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