Thu, Sep 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

China comments on anti-Chen rallies

AFP , BEIJING

China said yesterday it wanted peace and stability in Taiwan, stressing the campaign aimed at ousting the president would not affect exchanges between the two sides.

"Taiwanese compatriots are our flesh and blood, we sincerely hope for a peaceful society in Taiwan where the economy develops and people live happily," said Li Weiyi (李維一), spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office.

"We do not wish to see anything unfortunate happen," he said, in China's first reaction to the protests in Taiwan.

"Our stance and efforts to promote close cross-strait exchanges and all kinds of economic cooperation are unchanged," he said.

The campaign to oust embattled President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who has been dogged by allegations of corruption, entered its fifth day yesterday.

China has always been critical of Chen's pro-independence stance.

"We will continue to firmly oppose the `Taiwan independence' force," Li said.

Chen has been under pressure to resign after his son-in-law Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) was detained and indicted on suspicion of insider trading and taking bribes. Chen has publicly apologized for Chao's actions but said he would not resign.

Prosecutors are also investigating whether Chen misused funds intended for national affairs.

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