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Secessionist 'Security Report' Slammed

Chinese mainland yesterday condemned Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian for his continued push for secession, the latest instance of which is the island's first-ever "national security report."

The report, commissioned by Chen and released on May 20, says the mainland poses a "military threat" and vows to safeguard Taiwan's "sovereignty."

In line with Chen's long-standing call for "Taiwan independence," it pledges to rebuild the island's "national identity" while internationalizing the Taiwan question.

Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, described the document as "a systematic sum-up of secessionist propositions" by Chen and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

"With slander and attack against the mainland, the report attempts to alienate compatriots across the Straits and provoke confrontation," he told a regular press conference in Beijing's first official comments on the report.

Li said the document fully demonstrates Chen's "obstinate insistence on a pro-independence stance" as well as his "attempt to sabotage peace across the Straits."

"It also exposes the Taiwan leader's evil motive in diverting public and media attention from people's livelihoods and economic and social issues," he told reporters.

Taiwan media reports said the "security report" is apparently meant to help ease mounting pressure on Chen, who has been plagued by a series of scandals involving his family members.

His son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming, and three others have been detained on suspicion of insider share trading.

Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen has been accused of accepting department store gift certificates worth millions of Taiwan dollars and using her influence to bring about a change in the store's management.

The scandals, coupled with Chen's failure to address the island's economic woes, have dealt a heavy blow to the Taiwan leader, whose approval rating has dipped to as low as 8 per cent, according to media surveys.

Also at the news conference, He Shizhong, director of the Economic Bureau of the Taiwan Affairs Office, announced the expansion of limited shipping services between coastal mainland cities and Taiwan's outlying islands.

From June 8, passenger ferry services will operate between Taiwan's Jinmen island and the nearby mainland city of Quanzhou in Fujian Province.

The new shipping routes will expand the "three mini-links," which started on January 1, 2001.

Taipei has yet to lift its decades-old ban on the "three links" of direct trade, transport and postal services.

But in 2001, the DPP administration allowed direct shipping links between the outlying Taiwan islands of Jinmen and Mazu and the port cities of Xiamen and Fuzhou in Fujian.

(China Daily June 1, 2006)

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