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Let's talk economy instead of rhetoric
( 2003-12-17 23:37) (China Daily)

Beijing Wednesday launched a major effort to counteract the recent damage to bilateral ties caused by Taipei. The central government is calling for more extensive economic relations between the two sides in its first official document on the policy of seeking three direct links across the Taiwan Straits.

(Click to see full text of the "Three Direct Link" policy)

But the government stands as firm as ever in its opposition to Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's pro-independence attempts centring around his call for a "defensive referendum" on March 20 next year.

The mainland's move to push ahead with the establishment of cross-Straits mail, transport and trade services is believed to be a key offensive against Chen's provocative acts aimed at triggering new tensions in cross-Straits relations.

Chen, whose policies have been blamed repeatedly for the island's economic woes, has been preoccupied with the push for independence under the guise of promoting democracy.

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council unveiled at a regular press conference a 9,500-character document, entitled "Actively and Realistically Promote the 'Three Direct Links' Across the Taiwan Straits by Reliance on the People and in the Interests of the People."

It enunciates Beijing's stance and policy on the implementation of the three direct links and on various related issues.

He Shizhong, director of the Economic Affairs Bureau with the office, said that despite progress over the past two decades, there has been nothing more than indirect, one-way and indecisive progress in negotiations over the three links.

The stand and policies of the current Taiwan leader aimed at disrupting the development of cross-Straits relations and splitting the motherland are the root cause of the failure, so far, to realize the full opening-up of the three direct and two-way links, He told the press briefing.

He stressed that a full opening-up of the three direct links conforms to the immediate interests of compatriots across the Straits and is the fundamental way to achieve mutual benefit and a win-win situation.

To demonstrate the main-land's sincerity and flexibility, the document for the first time officially defines future air and shipping routes between Taiwan and the mainland as "cross-Straits routes."

Beijing used to describe future sea and air routes as "domestic routes" while insisting that the three links be taken as internal affairs within one country. But the document emphasizes that Beijing resolutely opposes anyone who attempts to define the three direct links as "state-to-state" or "quasi-international" ones or to "internationalize" them in disguised form.

At the press conference, Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office, also accused Chen of being "immoral" in gambling with the island's future to serve his own re-election bid and separatist agenda.

He said Chen's plan to hold the so-called "defensive referendum" constitutes gross provocation to upset stability and peace in cross-Straits ties.

"What is most serious is that Chen has been colluding with separatist forces to get them actively engaged in his pro-independence movement in an attempt to split Taiwan from the motherland," Li said. "In the face of outrageous separatist activities we must make necessary preparations to resolutely crush any pro-independence plots."

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