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Beijing sounds alarm on Taipei intentions
By Xin Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-16 01:01

Beijing has heightened its alert against Taipei's pursuit of formal independence, warning that cross-Straits relations will face a severe test in the next few years.

Wang Zaixi, vice-minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said Monday that Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has been advancing his separatist agenda since his re-election in March.

"The coming few years will be a key and highly dangerous period in the development of the Taiwan situation. Cross-Straits relations will face a severe test," Wang said.

"We will keep on high alert for Chen Shui-bian's splittist moves and will never allow anybody to split Taiwan from China."

He made the comments in a written interview with Reuters, which was provided to China Daily.

The vice-minister said the biggest threat to cross-Straits stability comes from the Taiwan leader's pro-independence timetable to write a new "constitution" through a referendum in 2006 and enact the document in 2008.

In a bid to cover up his plot to promote formal independence for the island, Chen recently made an empty call for the resumption of cross-Straits dialogue and a so-called "code of conduct."

Wang said the mainland has seen through Chen's double-dealing move, which aims at "fooling international opinion and the Taiwanese people and winning votes (in the December polls).

"His wish for stable cross-Straits ties is false while his aim to promote Taiwan independence is real," he stressed.

The senior official suggested that cross-Straits talks will not be resumed unless Chen accepts the one-China principle that both Taiwan and the mainland are part of China.

He blamed the failure to break the current cross-Straits political stalemate on Chen's rejection of the 1992 consensus.

The consensus refers to an informal verbal agreement reached between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation in November 1992.

Under the informal agreement, the two sides of the Straits adhere to the one-China principle.

Chen, however, has denied the existence of the consensus in a bid to shun the one-China principle since he took office in May 2000.

Bilateral talks can be resumed immediately "if Chen would clearly acknowledge the precondition as well as the facts, while discarding his separatist framework to promote 'one country on each side' of the Straits," Wang said.

Despite his conciliatory remarks, Chen has stepped up his pro-independence push to alienate the island even more from China.

On Sunday, he pledged to seek UN membership using the name "Taiwan" if his party wins a majority in the upcoming December 11 "legislative" elections.

Chen told a campaign rally that it was a mistake for the government to use the name "republic of China" in applying for a seat in the United Nations.

"Taiwan is a sovereign, independent country and we should use the name 'Taiwan' to apply to join the UN," local media reports quoted him as saying.

Taipei's UN bid has failed for 12 years as most countries in the world commit themselves to the one-China policy that Taiwan is part of China.

The "republic of China" was kicked out of the United Nations in 1971, when the General Assembly adopted resolution 2758, which declared the People's Republic of China "as the only legitimate representatives of China."

Supporters of Taiwan independence -- a core voting bloc of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party and its ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union -- have suggested Taiwan drop the name "republic of China" to reflect its evolution into a new country.

Meanwhile, Taiwan also plans to re-write its high school curriculum to separate the history of the island from that of China, as part of a drive to foster a stronger Taiwan identity.

Under new guidelines to be implemented in the 2006 school year, the "ministry of education" ordered high schools to revise their textbooks to create a separate book for Taiwan history, which is now included under Chinese history.

Analysts said the proposed changes to the school curricula are aimed at severing cultural and historical links between the island and the Chinese mainland.


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