Taiwan's Chen mulls axing reunification body
Updated: 2006-01-30 14:48
Taiwan's leader Chen Shui-bian said on Sunday he was considering
scrapping guidelines on reunification with mainland and the
body that created them.
Scrapping the guidelines and council, which was set up in 1990 and was
formerly the island's top policy-making body on the crucial question of
reunification, is likely to be Chen's pushing for independence.
Attendants of Xiamen
Airlines are bidding farewel to Taiwan compatriots heading for
Taiwan for the Spring Festival, which falls on January 29 this
Chen's statement drew a strong response from the main opposition Nationalist
party, which favours eventual reunification, with Chairman Ma Ying-jeou saying
there would be a price to pay for breaking a promise.
"Chen has previously pledged in all sincerity and seriousness there was no
problem over the scrapping of the 'National Unification Council' and 'National
Beijing has refused to deal with the pro-independence Chen and
his administration since his election in 2000 and not ruled out war if the
island seeks formal independence.
While Beijing is yet to respond to Chen's statement, Monday's People's Daily
carries an editorial on cross-strait relations.
The editorial marks the 11th anniversary of a speech by former leader Jiang
Zemin, in which he set forward an eight-point proposal for solving the Taiwan
issue peacefully, but without ruling out the use of force.
"The activities of 'Taiwan independence' splitist forces have continued to
intensify, which has seriously damaged the stability and development of
cross-strait relations," Xinhua cited the editorial as saying.
"There are people urging that the 'National Unification Council' and its
guidelines be abolished. I think now is the appropriate time we must seriously
consider it, take a good look at it," Chen told supporters at a New Year rally
in southern Taiwan.
There was no immediate comment from Beijing.
Former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui formed the council in 1990, which
devised the 'National Unification Guidelines' -- a blueprint for reunification
-- to convince that he was committed to reunification.
Creation of the council and guidelines paved the way for landmark
fencemending talks between the two sides in the early 1990s. But the body has
been dormant since Chen took office.
"This is an extremely serious topic as everybody knows all that's left of the
council is a name," Chen said.
"This kind of council and its representatives seek a reunified China, and
under the guidelines, accepts the 'one China' principle. These are all
Acceptance of the "one China" principle -- that Taiwan is part of China -- is
a precondition Beijing has set for any official talks with Taipei. Chen rejects
By dissolving the council and the guidelines, Chen would break a promise he
made upon his inauguration to not to do so, a pledge he made alongside another
not to declare independence.