Beijing will `pay a price' for law: Richard D'Amato

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Mar 12, 2005 - Page 3

US-China relations will suffer in the long term if China proceeds, as seems certain, with its "anti-secession" law, the chairman of a US congressional panel dealing with Chinese military and security issues has warned.

China "will pay a price" in terms of the way Congress deals with it, said Richard D'Amato, the head of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

"The whole way that Congress looks at China on a variety of issues is going to be colored by this behavior," D'Amato told the Taipei Times.

He made the comments one day after the commission had urged Congress to voice its strong opposition to the anti-secession law.

"It's all going to work against them in the long run if they look like they're bullies. If they continue to operate this way, they're going to get less and less leverage with this Congress. As things come along, they're going to start losing," he said.

While there has been no immediate reaction from Congress to a letter of protest sent by the commission, D'Amato said that there is a lot of interest in Congress in the issue, noting the number of congressmen who have spoken on the House floor about the law and the two resolutions that have been introduced opposing the law.

"We want to make sure the Chinese understand that the law is completely counter-productive to operating in a responsible way," he said.

The House is not expected to move on any legislation or resolution regarding the law until the middle of next week after China's National People's Congress is scheduled to give the law its final approval.

June Dreyer, a commission member, called the anti-secession law "an unwarranted move on the part of the Chinese which has backfired" by making more Taiwanese worry about China's plans.

"What concerns me is the idea of the PRC [People's Republic of China] deciding when Taiwan is moving toward independence. I can imagine that a move as small as taking Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣介石) picture off a postage stamp and substituting a flower would constitute an unacceptable move toward independence" in Beijing's eyes, she said.

"It's crucially important, and I believe it's important that Congress take a stand on this," she said.