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Law against secession to benefit Straits ties
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-16 02:27

Beijing yesterday assured that the passage of the Anti-Secession Law does not mean the toughening of its attitude towards Taiwan and it will not fuel tensions across the Straits.

Wang Zaixi: Secessionists pose threat. [newsphoto]
Wang Zaixi, vice-minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, stressed that the law is meant to promote peaceful reunification rather than undermine bilateral relations.

"The Anti-Secession Law neither signals any drastic change in our major Taiwan policies nor does it mean our attitude towards Taiwan has toughened," he told a news conference.

"We will adhere to our long-standing and consistent principle of settling the Taiwan question through peaceful means. So long as there is a glimmer of hope, we will do our utmost."

The vice-minister added the law will "benefit stable development of bilateral ties rather than cause tension in cross-Straits situation."

His comments at the press conference organized by the State Information Office of the State Council came after the National People's Congress (NPC) passed the Anti-Secession Law in a near unanimous vote on Monday.

The NPC, China's top legislature, enacted the 10-article bill by 2,896 pros, no con and 2 abstentions as it concluded its annual full session.

The bill creates a legal framework to promote a peaceful reunification between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.

Non-peaceful means and other necessary measures would be employed only as a last resort should all efforts for a peaceful reunification prove futile, according to the law.

Wang appealed to the Taiwan public not to worry as the purpose of making the law is to preserve cross-Straits peace and stability through checking and opposing secessionist forces.

"The intensified push for 'independence' by secessionist forces has posed a grave threat to cross-Straits peace and stability," the official said.

"If we fail to curb their secessionist activities in an effective and timely way, peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits will be greatly endangered," he added.

Gao Mingxuan, a law professor with the Renmin University of China, said the employment of non-peaceful means as stipulated in the bill targets only a small group of diehard secessionists but never Taiwan compatriots.

"Anyone who does not engage in secessionist activities shall not feel threatened by the law," said the professor, adding that the bill will win more support and understanding from the Taiwanese people.

Also yesterday, the Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement, condemning the Taiwan authorities for distorting the law to fan anti-mainland sentiment among the public.

The island's "mainland affairs council" has called the law a "blank check" for "annexation of Taiwan" by force while claiming the legislation "unilaterally changed the status quo" in the Taiwan Straits.

"This is to mislead and distort, purely with ulterior motives," said the statement.  

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