This year will be a crucial period for discouraging "Taiwan Independence" and
maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, officials in Beijing said
"With the Taiwan authority's pursuit of de jure 'independence' for Taiwan
through 'constitutional' change entering a period of substantial implementation
this year, cross-Straits relations face grave challenges," said Yang Yi,
spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office.
Yang, who is the deputy director of the office's press bureau, made his first
appearance at the regular press conference yesterday, making him the third
spokesman for the mainland office handling Taiwan affairs.
Last November, Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian advocated the establishment of a
"second republic" by revising the island's current "constitution" and adopting a
new one. The proposal was widely denounced as indicating the pursuit of de jure
'independence' for Taiwan.
Chen also proposed to change the island's "territorial" definition in the new
"constitution" last September.
"We will show our utmost willingness and try our best to win peaceful
unification prospects, but we shall never tolerate 'Taiwan Independence' or any
attempt to make Taiwan secede from China," Yang said.
Looking back on the developments of the past year, Yang said cross-Straits
relations had gradually moved towards peace and stability thanks to the efforts
of the people on both sides.
Yang added that secessionist moves by Taiwan 'independence' forces had been
the target of severe joint denunciations by people on both sides of the Straits.
Travel ties also are booming. Tourists from Taiwan made more than 4.4 million
visits to the mainland last year, while more than 200,000 mainland people
visited Taiwan, Yang said.
Yang urged the Taiwan authorities to allow two pandas to enter Taiwan.
The mainland offered Taiwan a pair of giant pandas as gift in May 2005, but
the Taiwan authorities have so far refused to let the pandas enter Taiwan,
citing political reasons.
(China Daily 01/18/2007 page3)