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Chen's plan a blueprint for disaster
( 2003-11-20 23:34) (China Daily)

Taiwan "president'' Chen Shui-bian cannot wait for the island's independence.

As a desperate step towards achieving that goal, Chen recently unveiled a timetable for a new constitution through referendum, which states the island's new constitution will be completed on December 10, 2006, and come into force on May 20, 2008, when the island's new leader is inaugurated.

The schedule for the new constitution, which is expected to provide Chen a "legal'' basis for independence, is essentially the schedule for Chen to separate Taiwan from China.

The move was not only Chen's thinly-disguised ploy to win re-election in the coming "presidential'' competition, but also the latest development in his conspiracy for independence.

It is not unexpected for Chen Shui-bian to be crazy for Taiwan independence, given his out-and-out pro-independence character prior to and during his "presidency.''

His "Five Nos'' commitment, such as not to pursue Taiwan independence and not to push for a constitution through referendum, has proven to be a blatant lie.

It was at most Chen's trick to win favour from Taiwan people to consolidate his weak political foundation during his initial "presidency.''

Chen immediately exhibited his conspiracy to pursue Taiwan independence once he considered his political foothold in the island secure. He has adopted a series of measures to realize a gradual independence, such as the moves to erase China's characteristics.

To gain votes from the island's independence forces, he also reaffirmed on many occasions that his confrontation with political rivals in the forthcoming "presidential'' election would be the confrontation between his "one country on each side'' theory and the one-China principle.

Signs indicate Chen Shui-bian is now racing against time to orchestrate his independence plan.

His recent pronouncements were only another exposure of his penchant for creating an independent state of Taiwan.

But fundamental reasons behind Chen's increasing audacity for pursuing independence should be examined.

Chen and his ilk would have never had the temerity to go farther and farther against the will of the Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots, without support from foreign pro-Taiwan forces, especially those in the United States.

The Taiwan issue would have never become a question without US intervention.

On the one hand, the United States makes its commitment to adhere to the one-China policy and not to support Taiwan independence, but on the other hand, it gives Taiwan oral and material support, thus laying down a serious obstacle to mainland-island reunification.

The latest example was a suggestion by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on Tuesday that the Bush administration should deploy sufficient forces in the Asia-Pacific area to lower tensions between the mainland and Taiwan. As well, the United States recently provided a platform for Chen Shui-bian's independence stand on his way to and from Panama.

In fact, some Pentagon officials have always supported Taiwan's military buildup to fend off the perceived "threat'' from the mainland.

Washington has stated on many occasions that it would not allow any official visit to the United States by Taiwan leaders, but it has always provided convenient stopovers while they paid visits to other countries.

Such stopovers by Taiwan leaders have provided them a platform to disseminate Taiwan independence.

It is exactly this kind of support from the United States that has helped add fuel to Taiwan independence forces' conspiracy.

According to international law and norms, the United States should have completely halted its weapons sales to Taiwan after establishing diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1979, given that Taiwan is an integral part of China.

But the United States has not been as good as its words.

Shortly after setting up formal ties with China, the US Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) which regulates US relations with the island.

The TRA stipulates that the United States bases its decision to set up diplomatic ties with China upon China's peaceful solution to the Taiwan question, and it should provide Taiwan necessary defensive weapons to protect the island from the mainland's military threats.

The act is completely a domestic legislation of the United States and Washington should not use its domestic law to interfere in other countries' internal affairs.

Offering Taiwan almost all treatments that sovereign countries enjoy with the United States, the act has provided Taiwan with the largest incentive to seek independence.

It's a fact that the United States has enormous economic interests in Taiwan, and it is also understandable that the United States is concerned about how the mainland and Taiwan are reunited, peacefully or by force.

But the US concern should not provide itself an excuse to intervene in China's internal affairs.

No country covets a peaceful reunification between the mainland and Taiwan more than China. The Chinese people also have the right of reserving an effective military means to smash any Taiwan independence attempt.

In fact, the US one-China policy and its commitment not to support Taiwan independence is completely contradictory with the TRA.

It is a deliberate ambiguity the United States has been harboring in dealing with the mainland and Taiwan.

The United States has kept the two contradictory policies for many years at the sacrifice of the interests of China.

It is the US wish that it can balance the mainland and Taiwan by clinging to the two lines and it can gain benefit from a peaceful and stable cross-Straits situation.

But the United States will miscalculate the situation if it continues holding to the past mentality.

The current cross-Straits situation is not the mainland pursuing reunification by force, but Taiwan separatists stepping up their independence programme by relying upon sophisticated weaponry from the United States.

Independence simply means war.

Unceasing arms sale to Taiwan may also be interpreted by separatists as US support for Taiwan independence, thus binding the United States upon the war chariot of Taiwan independence.

The US perspective of Taiwan as its "unsinkable aircraft carrier'' in the Asia-Pacific region during the Cold War is no longer suitable. And its ambiguous strategy across the Taiwan Straits does not work any more.

It is time for the United States to re-orient its policy towards cross-Straits relations and rid Taiwan separatists of any expectation for foreign involvement in a potential cross-Straits conflict.

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