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'We'll never tolerate acts of secession'
By Xing Zhigang and Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-04 07:34

China's top political adviser vowed on Friday that the nation would crush any moves towards "Taiwan independence" while striving for peaceful reunification across the Straits.

Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said the mainland would hold fast to the principles of "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems."

Protesters hold placards during a rally outside the Chung Hwa Travel Service, a Taiwan representative organisation, in Hong Kong February 28,2006, to protest against Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's decision to abolish the island's national unification council and its guidelines. Chen announced the decision to terminate the "national unification council" and the "national unification guidelines" after a one-hour meeting with Taiwan's top security agency, the "national security council." The protesters criticized Chen for betraying his 2000 pledge and endangering cross-Straits ties.[newsphoto]

"But we will never tolerate 'Taiwan independence.' We will unswervingly oppose and curb secessionist forces and their activities," he told the opening of the advisory body's annual plenary session.

Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian decided on Monday that the island's policy-making council on unification with the mainland would "cease to function" and its guidelines "cease to apply."

President Hu Jintao called Chen's move "a dangerous step towards Taiwan independence."

Major General Zhang Zhuo, a CPPCC member, told China Daily on Friday that the People's Liberation Army would never allow Taiwan to secede.

"We strongly oppose Chen Shui-bian's secessionist move," Zhang said. "We will exert ourselves to achieve reunification of the motherland. This is the common wish of all Chinese people worldwide."

In a related development, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said on Thursday in Washington that the United States expects Taiwan to "correct the record" on its decision to abolish "the unification council."

"We have seen reports that ... there is no distinction between 'abolish' and 'ceasing activity' and that the effect of Taiwan's action earlier this week was to abolish the council," Ereli said in a statement.

He was referring to Taiwanese media reports quoting high-ranking officials of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party as saying the effect of Chen's statement was to abolish the council.

Earlier, the United States had interpreted the wording of "ceasing to function" as meaning the council had been suspended, not abolished.

"We expect the Taiwan authorities publicly to correct the record and unambiguously affirm that the February 27 announcement did not abolish the national unification council," did not change the status quo, and that the assurances remain in effect, he said.

(China Daily 03/04/2006 page1)

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