Separatism Means Dead End for Chen

Cross-Straits ties will not achieve peace and stability unless Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian stops his pro-independence push, Beijing warned yesterday.

Li Weiyi, spokesman with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, also urged Chen to immediately accept the one-China principle.

"There is no alternative way for him (to take) if Chen really wants to pursue a peaceful and stable cross-Straits relationship," he told a news conference.

The spokesman made the remarks when asked to comment on Chen's plan to set up a "cross-Straits peace and development committee" in the future.

The committee to be headed by Chen himself will be in charge of promoting the so-called "peace and stability interaction framework" between the two sides.

While pointing to Chen's earlier pledge to wage a holy war against the mainland, Li described the leader's overture as a lie to cheat the international opinion.

What Chen did over the past four years has drawn cross-Straits ties into a dangerous zone and posed grave threats to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and in the Asia-Pacific region, he added.

The spokesman stressed the mainland has long been proposing to hold talks on ending the state of hostility between the mainland and Taiwan on the basis of the one-China principle and through consultation on an equal footing.

"But the fundamental obstacle to cross-Straits peace negotiation comes from Chen's obstinate separatist stance to advocate 'one country at each side' (of the Straits)," Li told reporters.

"If Chen does not embrace the one-China principle, both sides cannot sit down for the peace talks and there will be no peace and stability in cross-Straits relations."

Since taking power in May 2000, Chen has refused to accept the one-China principle that both Taiwan and the mainland are parts of China while insisting one China should be taken as an issue in cross-Straits talks.

Following his disputed re-election in the March "presidential" polls, Chen has stated time and again his intention to draft a "constitution" in 2006 and enact the document in 2008.

Li also told the news briefing that the Chinese Government will seriously consider and adopt the proposals to promote national reunification through legislative measures.

On Monday, Premier Wen Jiabao told a group of overseas Chinese living in the United Kingdom that Beijing will consider legislative steps to fight extreme pro-independence moves by Taiwan's separatist forces.

At the news conference, Wang Liji, deputy director of the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the Ministry of Health expressed a readiness for Taiwan health experts to join the Chinese delegation to present at the World Health Organization (WHO) conference.

He said medical circles across the Straits engage in close and positive co-operation and have effective channels to share medical information with one another to serve the welfare of Taiwan compatriots.

Meanwhile, he noted the island enjoys sufficient and smooth access to WHO information.

The comment is apparently aimed at refuting Taipei's allegation that the island is isolated from the international health body.

Taipei has launched its eighth bid for a WHO observer's seat. The WHO requires statehood for its membership.

Beijing accuses Taipei of using the health issue to create "two Chinas" and "one China, one Taiwan" within the WHO to achieve its attempt at Taiwan independence.

(China Daily May 13, 2004)