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Official: Push for independence risky
( 2003-11-26 16:09) (chinadaily.com.cn/Xinhua)

A Chinese official warned Wednesday if Taiwan authorities attempted to create a legal basis for Taiwan independence by the use of referendum or writing a constitution, China would make strong reactions.

Zhang Mingqing, a spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said the mainland would not tolerate continued bid by Taiwan's Chen Shui-bian toward independence. Any attempt to split China would bring disaster to the people of Taiwan.

Zhang Mingqing, a spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

He said if Taiwan authorities continue to go down along the road of "Taiwan Independence", and push for "Taiwan Independence", it would definitely harm the fundamental interests of the general public in Taiwan and bring disasters to the people of Taiwan.

"We would in no way remain idle on that matter," the spokesman told a regular press conference when asked to comment on the remarks of "'Taiwan Independence' means war".

He reiterated the central government's position that "Taiwan compatriots are brothers", and "nobody in the world hopes to resolve the issue of Taiwan and achieve reunification through peaceful means more than as we do".

"We will continue to adhere to the basic policy of peaceful reunification and one country, two systems, and implement in an all-round way the eight-point proposals made by Jiang Zemin, and strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts," he said.

Zhang accused Chen Shui-bian of attempting to realize his aim for Taiwan independence by using a proposed referendum and constitution, and nation-building and democracy as excuses.

The spokesman said Chen's attempts are a severe provocation of the one China principle and a great harm to the relations across the Taiwan Straits. Chinese people on the mainland and Taiwan would by no means tolerate Chen Shui-bian's attempts, he said.

Commenting on the referendum issue, Zhang said the mainland supports Taiwan compatriots in their desire to become the masters of their own and pursue democracy.

But if Taiwan authorities attempted to create a legal basis for Taiwan independence by the use of referendum or writing a constitution, "we should make strong reactions", warned the spokesman.

"The timetable for Taiwan independence is the timetable of our fight against Taiwan Independence," Zhang said.

It is the common aspiration of the Chinese people on both sides of the straits to take actions to fight against the rampant activities for Taiwan independence, the spokesman said.

The Chinese government and its people will never hesitate, compromise or concede on matters involving national sovereignty and territorial integrity, said Zhang.

US urged not to send wrong signals

Zhang also urged the United States stop sending any "messages" which might be interpreted as encouragement to pro-independence and separatist forces in Taiwan.

"Such messages will be no good for the de velopment of cross-strait ties, the stability of Sino-US ties and the reunification of China," said Zhang Mingqing.

The spokesman said China hopes the United States would truly adhere to the "One China" policy, promote Sino-US relations on the basis of three Sino-US joint communiques, and never send wrong messages to pro-independence and separatist forces in Taiwan.

Quoting Premier Wen Jiabao, the spokesman said: "the Chinese people will pay any price to safeguard the unity of the motherland". The premier made the remarks during a recent interview given to Leonard Downie, executive editor of The Washington Post on Nov. 21in Beijing.

"The words by Premier Wen Jiabao represents the firm faith and aspiration of the Chinese government and the people in the fight against Taiwan independence," said the spokesman.

Seeking consultation on direct charter flights

Meanwhile, the spokesman urged Taiwan authorities to allow mainland airlines fly direct charter flights to the island over January's Lunar New Year holidays.

Zhang said the aviation sector on the Chinese mainland is willing to consult with Taiwan counterparts on the proposed chartered flights across the straits during the coming Chinese lunar New Year holiday beginning on Jan. 22, 2004.

Commenting on reports that Taiwan authorities are considering two-way flights for Taiwan businesspeople on the mainland, Zhang said the mainland is willing to cooperate if Taiwan authorities meant what they said.

"Our position on direct air links over the Taiwan Straits remains consistent," that cross-strait direction air routes must be "direct, two way and mutually beneficial".

Taiwan airlines flew Taiwan businesspeople living in the mainland back home for the Lunar New Year holiday in January this year after brief stopovers in Hong Kong or Macau -- the first such commercial flights since 1949.

Zhang said Taiwan businesspeople on the mainland were dissatisfied about the one-way operation, and the mainland airways were barred by Taiwan authorities from carrying Taiwan businesspeople on chartered planes.

"But, on a case-by-case principle, we provided all possible convenience for the one-way chartered flights so as to help Taiwanese businesspeople return home for family reunions."

Zhang said the mainland has long expressed its position that the flights should be "two-way and direct" so that more Taiwanese businesspeople can return to Taiwan.

Taiwan authorities have banned direct air, sea and postal links between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits since 1949.

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