Divisive remarks of Chen under fire
( 2003-10-09 01:29) (China Daily)
Beijing Wednesday lashed out at Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian for his recent provocative pro-independence remarks, saying they are aimed at wooing separatist voters in next year's elections on the island.
"It is extremely immoral and dangerous for Chen to constantly advocate Taiwan independence and create tension in cross-Straits relations," the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said in a written statement.
Chen's move suggested that he has gone so far as to pursue the self-interests of himself and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at the cost of the basic interests of Taiwanese compatriots, it said.
The statement said separatist activities have greatly undermined social stability and economic development on the island, and threatened the strengthening of cross-Straits ties.
On September 28, Chen pledged to push ahead with a referendum to pave the way for what experts call a future plebiscite on the independence issue.
While addressing a ceremony marking the 17th anniversary of the pro-independence DPP, Chen also vowed to rewrite the island's "constitution" in 2006.
The overture came as the most blunt pro-independence remarks by Chen following his advocacy of "one country at each side" of the Straits in August last year.
Since taking power in May 2000, the Taiwan leader has refused to embrace the one-China principle that states there is only one China in the world, with both the mainland and Taiwan making up one nation.
Experts on Taiwan studies believe Chen is resorting to a risky voting strategy to win more support from hard-line pro-independence voters.
Due to the island's flagging economy and his flip-flopping mainland policy, Chen has been lagging behind opposition rivals - Lien Chan from the Kuomintang and James Soong from the People First Party - in popularity polls.
The Taiwan Affairs Office said the mainland respects the wishes of Taiwan compatriots to be their own masters, but firmly opposes the Taiwan authorities' move to challenge the one-China principle and split the motherland.
"Safeguarding the unity of the motherland serves the basic interests of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, and conforms to the common aspirations of the Chinese people as a whole," the statement said.
"Anybody who engages in Taiwan independence is doomed to failure."
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