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Taiwan Leader Draws Harsh Criticism over Secessionist Remarks
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A Chinese mainland official has released a statement criticizing Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's renewed talk of independence, calling it another "dangerous" step towards secession.


On Sunday, Chen publicly remarked that he wanted independence, development, a new constitution, and new names for local firms that contain the word "China" in their titles.


He also said that choosing between the "left or right course" wasn't a problem for Taiwan, but choosing between "unification and independence" was.


"Chen was openly preaching secessionist ideas, another dangerous step towards 'Taiwan independence'," a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council said.


In his 2000 inaugural speech, Chen pledged to adhere to "four nos," while in office: no declaration of Taiwan's independence, no incorporation of the "two states" remarks into the constitution, no change of the province's name, and no referendum on "Taiwan independence.”


"He has replaced the 'four nos' pledge with a 'four wants' policy, which shows once again that Chen is a faithless politician," the official said, adding that Chen's attempts to seek "Taiwan Independence" through constitutional reform pose a threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and to Asia and the Pacific.


He promised continued efforts from the mainland to improve cross-Straits relations with the utmost sincerity, but firm opposition to any secessionist moves, saying the mainland will never allow secessionists to separate Taiwan from China in any name or form.


Chen's personal gains


The statement said Chen's secessionist attempts are aimed at shoring up his personal gains and shifting public attention away from corruption investigations into members of his family.


"Whoever wants independence will become a criminal in history," Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC).


Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday pledged that the mainland strongly opposes any secessionist activity in Taiwan.


"We will remain committed to the basic principle of peaceful reunification and 'one country, two systems' and vigorously expand exchanges and cooperation between the two sides," Wen said in his annual government work report.


(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2007)



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