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Wen: We're watching secessionists moves
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-15 05:39

Beijing is preparing for all eventualities as Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has intensified his secessionist push for the island's "de jure independence," Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday.

He accused Chen of seriously damaging cross-Straits peace and stability with his February 27 decision to scrap a government body that sought eventual unification with the mainland.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao holds his watch as he extends his news conference for two more questions after the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in China's capital Beijing March 14, 2006. [Reuters]

Chen's actions are "highly risky, dangerous and deceptive," Wen told a press conference following the end of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

"We should guard against the escalated secessionist moves to push forward the 'constitutional re-engineering' project aimed at 'de jure independence'," the premier said.

"We are keeping a close watch on the development and preparing to deal with any possible consequences."

He said the mainland "will never waver in its opposition to secessionist activities and will by no means allow Taiwan to secede from the motherland."

Wen also offered to hold talks with Chen's ruling Democratic Progressive Party as long as it drops its pro-independence platform.

The premier reiterated that Beijing is willing to talk to any individual or political party from the island under the one-China principle, which maintains that both Taiwan and the mainland belong to one and the same China.

At the two-hour nationally-televised press conference, Wen also talked about major topics ranging from the rural poor, Internet freedom, education and foreign relations to environmental protection.

As a sign of the top Chinese leadership's commitment to reform and opening-up, Wen pledged to unswervingly press ahead with the country's decades-old reform agenda.

"Although there will be difficulties in the way ahead, we cannot stop. Back-pedalling is not a way out," he said.
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