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Hu Warns Against Taiwan Secession
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President Hu Jintao yesterday reiterated Beijing's firm opposition to Taiwan "independence", saying secessionist activities in any form will not be allowed.


"We strive for peaceful unification, but we will never allow anyone, in any form, to make Taiwan secede from China," he said when addressing 400 members of the Chinese community, students and staff of the Chinese embassy in Canberra.


He noted that the Taiwan authorities have stubbornly held to their secessionist stand and recently engaged in secessionist activities aimed at "Taiwan independence", pushing forward "a referendum on UN membership" in an attempt by the island to join the world body in the name of Taiwan.


"It is the common aspiration of all Chinese, both at home and abroad, to realize the peaceful reunification of the motherland," he said.


"We will show our best sincerity and do our utmost to maintain peace and stability across the Straits and promote the development of cross-Straits relations."


Hu gets up close with Australian rural life


The Australian wool-shearing bronze medal winner yesterday said he hopes the sport would be recognized as an Olympic discipline because only then he could visit Beijing during the 2008 Games.


Graeme Clugston, who demonstrated his wool shearing skills in front of President Hu Jintao, said he was greatly honored to meet the head of the world's most populous state.


He watches everything on and about China that is shown on TV but has never been to the country, he said.


Despite his expertise in wool shearing, Clugston said he was really nervous to demonstrate in front of Hu.


"I was nervous again when he shook hands with me and praised me. I felt privileged," he said after turning a three-year-old merino sheep with a woolly coat "bald" in four minutes.


Hu reached Bywong Station, about 30 minutes drive from Canberra, yesterday morning to gain first hand knowledge of Australian rural life.


He showed great interest and kept asking questions and feeling the clipped wool after it was sorted and ready to be pressed into a bale.


The 38-year-old Clugston, engaged in the profession for 20 years, said he understood Hu's visit reflected the importance of friendly ties between China and Australia.


"China buys about 60 percent of Australian wool and is also the biggest buyer of Australian clip," he said.


Hu had morning tea with Ian Cusack, owner of Bywong Station, and his family and tasted some Australian snacks.


During his half an hour chat with the family, Hu said he had toured a family sheep farm in Australia 21 years ago and was quite impressed by it.


"I must say it was very comfortable and he is very charming," Cusack said after the family had posed for photographs with Hu.


Cusack presented Hu with a navy scarf made of wool, saying China has provided a big market for Australia's fine wool.


Bywong Station has about 2,800 sheep and 170 cattle heads on the 17-sq km grassland. Since it's suffering the impact of a severe drought, the 45-year-old owner is pinning hope on China to buy more wool.


Before his visit to the farm, Hu met with the House of Representatives Speaker David Hawker and Senate President Alan Ferguson, and both sides talked highly of the growing bilateral ties.


When addressing 400 members of the Chinese community, students and staff of the Chinese embassy in Canberra yesterday, Hu reiterated China's firm opposition to Taiwan "independence," saying secessionist activities in any form will not be allowed.


Hu reached Sydney later yesterday from the Australian capital and had dinner with New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma. Hu is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister John Howard today.


(China Daily September 6, 2007)

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