Houston Community News >> China Slams Taiwan Leader, Invoke Anti-Secession Law

3/5/2007-- China uttered a veiled military threat and condemned the efforts of Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian to promote Taiwanese independence as a 'dangerous step' Monday, calling Chen a 'faithless politician.'

A spokesman for the Chinese government said in Beijing that Chen had changed his policy on Taiwanese independence and changing the country's name since taking up office in 2000.

He has replaced the 'four Nos' pledge with a 'four wants' policy. His attempts to gain independence through constitutional reforms represented a threat to peace and stability in the region, the spokesman said.

China would be 'highly vigilant against any secessionist moves and never allow secessionists to separate Taiwan from China in any name or form.'

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing earlier said Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian would become a 'criminal in history' if he continues to promote formal independence for his country.

Reacting to Chen's statement on Sunday that Taiwan must seek independence, Li invoked China's 'anti-secession law' and said Chen would not succeed in any bid for formal independence, the Zaobao.com website, owned by Singapore's United Morning News (Lianhe Zaobao), reported.

The controversial law is 'not something useless that can be just put aside,' Li was quoted as telling reporters, in an apparently veiled reference to a provision that allows the use of force to prevent formal independence for Taiwan.

Chen said Taiwan 'must seek independence, must rectify its name, must have a new constitution and must seek development.'

He was speaking at a dinner to mark the 25th anniversary of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, a US-based pro-independence group formed by overseas Taiwanese.

Chen said the country should apply for membership of the United Nations under the name Taiwan, frame a new constitution and develop its economy and democracy in keeping with being an independent nation.

The Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang or KMT) government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communist Party.

The island of Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, is now officially called the Republic of China.

Chen said that Taiwan was already a sovereign state separate from the People's Republic of China, and that independence was a 'common dream' of Taiwan's people.

His surprise statement supporting formal independence has triggered confusion among political observers, with some accusing Chen of attempting to rally support for his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ahead of year-end legislative elections and the 2008 presidential race.

The Anti-Secession Law passed by China in March 2005 laid 'a legal foundation for a future military invasion of Taiwan,' Chen said last week in an exclusive interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The controversial law allows 'non-peaceful means' against Taiwan if the island seeks independence or if the possibility of 'peaceful reunification' is exhausted.

Since October, Chen has launched a campaign to delete the words China and Chinese from enterprise names. He has also vowed to introduce a new constitution for Taiwan before he steps down in 2008 after serving two four-year terms.

China regularly accuses Chen of promoting formal independence for the island that Beijing sees as a renegade province. It has tried to isolate Chen by arranging visits by Taiwan's opposition leaders.

(Contributed by Xinghua)