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Stopping 'Taiwan Independence' Key to Peace

Recent remarks by a senior US official on the issue of Taiwan is not only in violation of the one-China principle and the three Sino-US Joint Communiques, but also constitute interference in China's internal affairs.

While reiterating that the United States does not support Taiwan independence, the US official accused China of continuing to deploy missiles targeting Taiwan and refusing to renounce the use of force, and alleged that the Chinese stance harms peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.

At a hearing last month in the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, the US official also reiterated that the United States would continue to use the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Sino-US Joint Communiques and the one-China policy as the basis in dealing with US-China relations, and would continue to sell weapons to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act.

In addition, he said the United States would support Taiwan in its efforts to join international organizations, say, to become an observer of the World Health Organization.

What is more, he even suggested that the United States "define" Taiwan's legal status.

First of all, the US official's accusations are utterly unjustifiable. Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits is a common aspiration of the international community, including China. But the question is: Who is jeopardizing peace and stability in the region and how should peace and stability be safeguarded there?

It is known to all that the biggest threat to the cross-Straits peace and stability is the activities by the pro-independence Taiwan authorities to split Taiwan from China.

Since Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian took office, the Taiwan authorities have wantonly made such claims as "one China, one Taiwan" and "two Chinas" and repeatedly put up obstacles to and create crises in the cross-Straits relations.

Chen has even proposed a "Taiwan independence" timetable with holding a referendum on writing a new constitution in 2006 and enacting the constitution in 2008 to make Taiwan a "normal and complete nation."

All the moves have brought the cross-Straits relations to the brink of danger. Is there any bigger threat than this to the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits?

Chen, under the strong anti-"Taiwan independence" pressure from both sides of the Straits and from the international community, delicately packaged his May 20 speech and did not use the term of "one country on each side."

However, the "Taiwan independence" essence remained unchanged, failing to dispel the root-cause of the cross-Straits tension or even a possible crisis.

The Office for Taiwan Affairs under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council issued a statement on May 17, expounding China's stance on cross-Straits relations.

China has, as always, upheld solving the Taiwan issue through peaceful means and has repeatedly reiterated that it will never give up the efforts for peace negotiations.

Just because a handful of people inside and outside the island are still seeking "Taiwan independence," China cannot make a commitment to renouncing the use of force for realizing national reunification and has had to make necessary and limited military deployment.

If the United States really wants to help maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, it should not have made irresponsible remarks on China's military deployment and used it as an excuse to keep selling advanced weapons to Taiwan. Instead, it should see the separatist nature of Chen Shui-bian, abide by the three Sino-US Joint Communiques, honor its commitment against "Taiwan independence," persist in the one-China principle and send no misleading signals to the "Taiwan independence" force.

What is more, the so-called Taiwan Relations Act is but a domestic law unilaterally enacted by the United States. It can never be placed on a par with the three Sino-US Joint Communiques.

How can a US unilaterally-enacted domestic act be the basis in dealing with Sino-US relations? Only the three Sino-US Joint Communiques worked out jointly by China and the United States can be the sole principle that the two sides should abide by in dealing with bilateral ties.

In a communique signed on Aug. 17, 1982, the United States promised that its arms sales to Taiwan "will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in the years following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and intends to gradually reduce the arms sales, over a period of time, to a final resolution of the issue."

In fact, Washington has put the Taiwan Relations Act above the three Sino-US Joint Communiques, never stopping selling weapons to Taiwan.

Washington argues that the purpose of selling weapons to Taiwan is to assure Taiwan authorities that they could conduct dialogues with the mainland in "a safer position."

But due to the support and connivance of the United States, Taiwan authorities have gone further down the road toward "independence" and the United States is responsible for the current worsening situation across the Taiwan Straits.

If the United States really wants to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, it should stop arms sales to and end official-style exchanges with the island in any form immediately, thus avoiding sending wrong signals to Taiwan.

The United States is also eager to drag Taiwan into some international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), whose members are all sovereign states. And this is unacceptable to China because Taiwan, as an inalienable part of China, has no right to join the WHO in any name.

The US action has violated its commitment in the Joint Communiques that "There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is a part of China."

On May 17, the 57th World Health Assembly (WHA), the supreme decision-making body of the WHO, rejected a proposal to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer in the organization, marking the eighth time since 1997 that such a proposal has been rejected and Taiwan's attempt supported by the United States to join the WHO has failed again.

This new failure just indicates how unpopular the US move is.

And how ridiculous it is for the US official to suggest that the United States should "define" the status quo of Taiwan.

There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. That is all the history and status quo of Taiwan is about and it has already found evidence in all facts and laws about Taiwan.

The 1943 Cairo Declaration and the 1945 Potsdam Proclamation have all affirmed Taiwan's legal status as an inalienable part of China. UN Resolution 2578 passed at the 26th General Assembly in 1971 also made the same conclusion from the perspective of international law.

The fact that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China has been universally accepted by the international community and it is a fact that needs no one to "define."

Currently, 165 countries in the world, including the United States, have accepted the one-China principle and are holding to the one-China policy.

The US official now suggests that the United States "define" Taiwan's legal status. What is his attempt? Does he intend to overthrow the historical conclusion accepted even by the United States itself and deny a fact existing since ancient times? If the answer is "no," then what will be his interpretation?

The Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Any attempt to separate Taiwan from China is doomed to fail and Taiwan will eventually be reunited with its motherland. The United States should sober-mindedly understand this.

In recently years, thanks to concerted efforts by both sides, Sino-US relations have developed smoothly. The US official's remarks obviously go against the development trend of bilateral relations and will only contribute to harming Sino-US ties.

The Taiwan issue has always been the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-US relations. An appropriate handling of the issue is key to guaranteeing the sound and stable development of Sino-US relations.

Under the circumstances when the cross-Straits situation is extremely sensitive and tough due to Chen Shui-bian's adherence to his "Taiwan independence" policy, the United States should keep in mind the overall development of the Sino-US relations and honor its commitment when it comes to the Taiwan issue.

The United States should stick to its one-China policy and abide by the three Sino-US Joint Communiques. The United States must keep its promise against Taiwan independence, handle the Taiwan issue cautiously and properly, and in particular, avoid any remark or action that might fuel the Chen Shui-bian authorities' intention to split Taiwan from China.

Only by doing so can Sino-US relations develop in a sound and stable way and can peace and stability be maintained across the Taiwan Straits.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2004)

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