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NPC Spokesman Meets with Press

The Third Session of the 10th National People’s Congress (NPC) -- the annual full session of China's top legislature -- will convene on Saturday. NPC deputy and spokesman Jiang Enzhu appeared at a press conference held in the Great Hall of the People Friday morning to outline the upcoming session and answer questions from reporters.


Jiang said that the proposed anti-secession law, which the NPC will consider during its session, is not in any way a law on the use of force against Taiwan or a war mobilization order.


"On the contrary, this is a law that will promote the development of cross-Straits relations and promote peaceful reunification," said Jiang.


The law will reaffirm the government's adherence to the basic principle of peaceful reunification and "one country, two systems, " the spokesman stated.


It will also clarify and consolidate, in the form of law, the government's policy on developing cross-Straits relations, promoting direct trade, mail, and air and shipping links and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots.


"The law will manifest the common will of the entire Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as their zero tolerance toward any attempt by the Taiwan independence secessionist forces to make Taiwan secede from China under any name and by any means," he said.


Also during the session, the NPC will review the request of Jiang Zemin to resign from his chairmanship of the State Central Military Commission (CMC). The delegates will elect his replacement and appoint members nominated by the new chairman.


Jiang Zemin, 78, resigned as chairman of the Communist Party CMC last September, and was succeeded by Hu Jintao.


Following the practice of the past two decades, Hu -- also president of China -- is expected to be elected to the chair of the State CMC as well.


The NPC deputies will also hear and review the government work report to be delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao on the opening day of the session, and reports on the government budget and on economic and social development plans.


The State Council has proposed that the NPC approve a 247.7 billion yuan (US$29.8 billion) national defense budget for the year 2005.


"This is still a fairly small amount compared with (the military spending) of other major countries in the world, in terms of its proportion to China's total financial expenditures and gross national product," said spokesman Jiang.


Most of the money is earmarked for pay and benefit increases for service members, demobilization of soldiers discharged in the country's latest move to cut troop strength by 200,000, and armament upgrades to modernize China's national defense, Jiang said.


(Jiang Enzhu, a native of Jiangsu Province born in 1938, is a member of the NPC Standing Committee and director of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee.)



(Xinhua News Agency March 4, 2005)

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