Responding to secessionist statements by Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian, the US stated on Monday that it will not "support 'independence' for Taiwan."
"President Bush has repeatedly underscored his opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo by either Taipei or Beijing because these threaten regional peace and stability, US national interests and Taiwan's own welfare," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack during his daily press briefing.
In 2000 and 2004, Chen vowed to not "declare independence, change the national title, push for inclusion of sovereignty themes in the constitution, or promote a referendum to change the status quo in regard to the questions of independence and unification," McCormack noted.
These commitments and how Chen keeps to them will provide "a test of leadership, dependability and statesmanship and of his ability to protect Taiwan's interests ... and to maintain peace and stability in the Strait," said McCormack.
"Rhetoric bringing these commitments into doubt is unhelpful," the spokesman added.
McCormack was responding to Chen's statements in Taipei over the weekend that he sought "independence," a new constitution, and dropping the word "China" from titles of local firms.
A spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council also attacked Chen for his "Taiwan independence" remark, marking it another dangerous step toward secession.
Chen's persistent attempts at seeking "Taiwan independence" through "constitutional reform" form a major threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and for the whole Asia-Pacific region, the spokesman said.
Taiwan newspapers yesterday also jumped on the anti-Chen bandwagon, with the Taiwan Commercial Times saying that his "aggressive, crass and volatile political claims" went against the wishes of most Taiwan people.
(China Daily March 7, 2007)