Hu warns against secession

By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-06 07:16

President Hu Jintao Wednesday 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 is in Australia for a state visit and will attend the annual gathering of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Sydney on Saturday.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu confirmed on Tuesday during a regular news briefing that Hu will meet US President George W. Bush on the sidelines of the gathering.

Jiang said "opposing and checking 'Taiwan independence' is crucial to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and in the Asia-Pacific region, and is in the interests of both China and the US."

She repeated China's hope that the US strictly adheres to its commitments by sticking to the one-China policy, abiding by the three joint communiques between China and the US and opposing "Taiwan independence".

Analysts said it is highly possible that the Hu-Bush meeting will touch on the referendum plan of Taiwan authorities.

Washington criticized Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's referendum attempt as "a mistake" and "a step toward a declaration of 'independence of Taiwan', and toward an alteration of the status quo".

Chang Lin-cheng, a professor at Taiwan University, said Bush should make clear Washington's attitude toward the referendum plan during his meeting with Hu.

Chen Shui-bian will go to extremes if the US sends wrong signals on the issue, she was quoted by China News Service as saying.

If nobody jams on the brake, the cross-Straits situation will be on the verge of danger, she said.

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