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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

KEUR FM 90 > Reuters > China on High Alert for Taiwan Independence Moves

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is on high alert for moves toward independence by Taiwan as the island's president, Chen Shui-bian, speeds up his efforts to split Taiwan from the motherland, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, which formulates Beijing's policy toward the democratic island of 23 million, said the mainland would resolutely oppose Taiwan independence and protect the unity of the country.
The spokesman accused Chen of "accelerating attempts in recent weeks to split Taiwan from China," the official Xinhua news agency said.
The mainland was "on high alert for splittist attempts of Chen Shui-bian," he was quoted as saying. Beijing views Taiwan as part of Chinese territory and has vowed to bring it back to the fold, by force if necessary.
The island and the mainland have been split politically since the Communists swept to power in 1949 and the Nationalists fled to Taiwan at the end of a civil war.
Last week, Chen made a case for Taiwan's entry into the United Nations in an unusual satellite news conference, saying Taiwan was a victim of "political apartheid" engineered by China. The appeal failed for the 12th consecutive year.
In 1971, a General Assembly resolution declared the People's Republic of China "as the only legitimate representatives of China." The resolution expelled Taiwan from all U.N. organizations and agencies.
Before that, the Nationalists occupied the U.N. seat as the Republic of China, which remains Taiwan's official name.
Chen argued that the 1971 resolution did not say that China could represent Taiwan.
The Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman "warned that Chen Shui-bian has been trying everything to separate Taiwan from China, taxing Taiwan compatriots and cross-Straits relations," Xinhua said.
Tensions have been simmering since Chen won re-election in March, although he scrapped annual military exercises last month as a reciprocal goodwill gesture after Taiwan newspapers said China had canceled its own war games.
Despite military and diplomatic rivalry, the two sides have seen trade, investment and tourism blossom since the late 1980s.

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