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Vice-minister: We have our principle and bottom line
( 2004-01-05 07:56) (China Daily by Xing Zhigang)

Taipei should not expect the mainland to remain restrained if the island continues its radical push for independence, a senior government official has warned.

Wang Zaixi
Wang Zaixi, vice-minister of the Taiwan Affair Office of the State Council, said Beijing has so far been exercising restraint towards the Taiwan authorities in a bid to guarantee stability in cross-Straits ties.

"But we do have our principle and bottom line for keeping restrained,'' he told a seminar in Sydney over the weekend.

That is the Chinese Government and its people will never allow pro-independence forces to split Taiwan from China.

"We stand firm on this issue of significant principle and will never make any compromise or give way,'' Wang stressed.

The official in charge of cross-Straits policy sent the clear message at a Saturday symposium organized by the Australian Association for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification.

It was apparently meant to highlighting the grave threat posed by Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's stepped-up efforts at independence to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and the Asia-Pacific region at large.

Bent on provocative actions to win votes in the "presidential'' election on March 20, Chen has been taking bold steps to move Taiwan closer towards independence under the guise of promoting "democracy.''

He once pledged to bring a new "constitution'' to the island on December 10, 2006 and put it into force on May 20, 2008.

The Taiwan leader also proposed to hold a "defensive referendum'' on the election day with a view to making cross-Straits relations increasingly tense.

Wang said the introduction of Chen's pro-independence timetable has suggested that separatist forces on the island are attempting to achieve formal Taiwan independence before 2008 in a planned and premeditated way.

The official noted the mainland will make unremitting efforts to peacefully settle the Taiwan question as long as there is any hope of this.

Wang, however, did reiterate Beijing's long-standing stance that it will pay any price to safeguard the unity of the motherland.

While promoting the peaceful reunification of China, Beijing does not undertake to renounce the use of force in case of Taiwan declaring independence.

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