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Warning shot fired on Taiwan conspiracy
( 2003-11-18 00:48) (China Daily)

Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's radical pro-independence moves have finally sparked new tension in cross-Straits ties with Beijing Monday pledging to deal heavy blows to anyone who attempts to split the island from China.

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council strongly warned Monday that Chen's risky activities are gradually dragging 23 million Taiwan compatriots into a dangerous abyss.

In a strongly-worded written statement, the office accused Taiwan authorities led by Chen of colluding with separatist forces and engaging in pro-independence acts under the disguise of popular will.

"They have been plotting to cram some clauses into the referendum law to benefit their separatist moves and create a legal ground for a future plebiscite on independence,'' the statement said.

It added that Taiwan authorities have also been attempting to take advantage of the referendum and "constitutional'' changes to establish a so-called "Republic of Taiwan'' and realize their pro-independence goal.

The Taiwan Affairs Office described Chen's pro-independence moves as "a very dangerous separatist act,'' which makes gross provocations against the one-China principle and 1.3 billion Chinese people, including our Taiwan compatriots.

The separatist steps also "undermine cross-Straits relations and threaten peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,'' according to the statement.

The office stressed that Taiwan belongs to 1.3 billion Chinese people on both the mainland and the island and cannot be separated from the motherland by pro-independence forces.

"The Chinese Government and people stand firm on and will never back from the fundamental principles of safeguarding the national sovereignty and territorial integrity,'' it said.

"Anybody who attempts to split Taiwan from China is set to suffer a heavy blow by 1.3 Chinese people including our Taiwan compatriots.''

This has been the strongest warning from the mainland's top body in charge of cross-Straits ties since Chen began to trumpet his plans for a new "constitution'' and an islandwide referendum.

The Taiwan leader has been counting on the voting strategy to provoke the mainland in a bid to boost his chances for re-election in next year's "presidential'' campaign.

The referendum law is expected to be passed by the island's "legislative yuan'' by the end of this month while Chen has vowed to complete "constitutional'' changes in 2006.

The Taiwan Affairs Office said what Chen has done has repeatedly betrayed his earlier commitment to refraining from pushing for independence and exposed his true ulterior aim of splitting the motherland.

"We respect the aspiration of Taiwan compatriots to be their own masters but firmly oppose the Taiwan authorities' conspiracy to promote Taiwan independence through the referendum legislation and a plebiscite on independence,'' the office said.

It noted Chen's dangerous moves go against the fundamental interests of Taiwan compatriots and are step by step dragging them into an abyss.

"We solemnly warn the Taiwan authorities led by Chen not to cheat and fool the Taiwanese public any more, wake up to the danger at last moment and immediately stop the evil act of splitting the motherland through referendum legislation,'' the statement said.

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