Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's latest remark that he might scrap a key policy body on China's reunification "is against the will of the people across the Taiwan Straits," a renowned mainland expert said in Beijing yesterday.
"It shows Chen is taking an important move towards implementing the policy he delivered on his New Year's Day speech, which features nothing but active guidelines towards Taiwan 'independence'," said Yu Keli, director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
He said such a move runs against the people's wishes on promoting cross-Straits relations and safeguarding peace and stability.
Given the profound change in the political geography on the island since last year, "Chen's attempt to seek Taiwan 'independence' would never win support from the people on the island, nor would he succeed," Yu said.
On Sunday, also the first day of the Lunar New Year, Chen told a rally it was time to consider scrapping the island's National Unification Council and its guidelines on reunification.
The two other goals he listed include drafting a new constitution and entering the United Nations with the name of Taiwan.
Set up in 1991, the council was formerly the island's top policy-making body on crucial questions of reunification.
It adopted the council guidelines the same year to pursue reunification with the mainland.
By trying to scrap the council and the guidelines, Chen is actually seeking to reverse the trend of history and has violated his earlier "four-nos-plus-one-without" commitments, Yu said.
In his 2000 inauguration speech, Chen pledged "he would not declare 'independence,' not change the name of the island, not constitutionalize the description of Taiwan's relationship with the mainland as 'state-to-state,' and not push for a referendum on 'independence'."
The "one without" was Chen's pledge without question not to abolish the National Unification Council or the National Unification Guidelines.
"The mainland will oppose strongly Chen's move, which tries to reverse historical trend. The international community would not support him because he is creating tension in cross-Straits relations," Yu said.
Chen's Lunar New Year speech also drew strong criticism on the island.
The chairman of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), Ma Ying-jeou, said that Chen's credibility would be questioned now that he decided to scrap the council and guidelines.
KMT spokesman Chang Yung-kung also said Chen's move signals a start towards Taiwan "independence."
In response to Chen's remarks, the United States reiterated on Monday that its policy on Taiwan had not changed.
"The United States does not support Taiwan 'independence' and opposes unilateral changes to the status quo by either Taiwan or Beijing," the US State Department said in a statement.
(China Daily February 1, 2006)