Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that he will consider a proposal to introduce legislation mandating eventual reunification with Taiwan, China News Service said in a report available on Tuesday.
In a meeting with ethnic Chinese living in England on May 10 in London, Wen heard a proposal from 76-year-old Shan Sheng that China's parliament, the National People's Congress, should draft and adopt a reunification law to prevent Taiwan from edging toward independence.
"Your view on reunification of the motherland is very important, very important. We will seriously consider it," Wen was quoted as saying by the China News Service.
Reunification "is more important than our lives," Premier Wen told Chinese Embassy staff in London on Sunday.
"I deeply believe that one day Taiwan will return to the embrace of the motherland. This is a historical inevitability that cannot be blocked by any force," Wen said. He did not elaborate.
Beijing has warned of war if Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian, who was re-elected on March 20 after a mysterious election eve assassination attempt, formally declares independence.
The law, analysts said, was necessary in the face of growing calls for Taiwan independence.
"It is something we must face and resolve," said Zhu Xianlong, a Taiwan expert at Beijing Union University.
"The reunification law will define what is Taiwan independence and specify corresponding measures," he said. "It will be legally binding. The use of force will be an important but our last resort."
Beijing says it is committed to peaceful reunification, and trade, investment and tourism with Taiwan have blossomed since the late 1980s.
China was opposed to any plans by member nations of the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to a WHO conference as an observer, Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao as saying.
The meeting of the WHO's decision-making body is to be held in Geneva from May 17 to 22.
To underscore China's sovereignty over Taiwan, Beijing had invited health experts from the island to attend the WHO conference as part of the Chinese delegation, but Taipei did not respond, Liu said.
(China Daily May 11, 2004)