US security review commission blasts anti-secession law

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Mar 11, 2005 - Page 3

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) on Wednesday recommended that the US Congress urge China not to enact the "anti-secession" law, warning that passage of the law will "needlessly inflame the China-Taiwan situation."

The commission was established to report to Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the US and China, and to provide recommendations to Congress for legislative and administration action.

It said the law would complicate the task of maintaining stability in the China-Taiwan relationship.

In a letter addressed to Ted Stevens, president pro tempore of the Senate, and J. Dennis Hastert, speaker of the House of Representatives, the commission noted the law would cause the significant US interest in maintaining the peaceful status quo in the region to be "adversely affected."

"For these reasons, we recommend the Congress strongly and publicly urge China's NPC [National People's Congress] not to enact this legislation," the commission said.

USCC members "are concerned that China's intent in enacting this law is to create a purported legal basis for it to take Taiwan by force if China determines Taiwan has taken steps toward independence," the letter said.

China's unilateral action is unlikely to have any practical effect pertaining to international law or policy, the commission said.

The principal impact of the legislation would be "to destabilize the already tenuous cross-strait balance by provoking Taiwanese reaction, inflaming Chinese nationalist sentiments, and limiting the political maneuvering room for China's leadership to take innovative steps that may lead to a lessening of cross-strait tensions," the commission added.

The law is likely to make it more difficult for the US to facilitate an active cross-strait dialogue that could promote the long-term, peaceful resolution of differences between China and Taiwan, it cautioned.

Meanwhile, as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is slated to travel to six Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan, Korea and China from March 14 to 21, a US congressman suggested Rice arrange a visit to Taiwan at a hearing on Wednesday.

Representative John Culberson, a Texas Republican who visited Taiwan in December, described Taiwan as "a shining city on a hill" and recommended that Rice come to Taipei to show appreciation for Taiwan's democratic achievements.

Rice did not respond to Culberson's question.