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BEIJING SHOULD NOT DISTORT TAIWAN'S DEMOCRATIC REFORMS: SPOKESMAN

2004-04-22 22:41:47

    Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Mainland China should not distort Taiwan's moves to deepen and consolidate its young democracy and paint them as steps toward de jure independence, Cabinet spokesman Lin Chia-lung said Thursday.

    Lin was referring to Beijing's claim that Taiwan's plan to write a new constitution to be put to a referendum in 2006 and implemented in 2008 is a step to engineer Taiwan's permanent split with the mainland -- a move that could provoke a military attack by the mainland.

    Lin's remarks came after James Kelly, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, urged Taiwan a day earlier to take Beijing's military threat seriously and reiterated that the United States does not support Taiwan independence.

    Lin said Kelly's testimony at Wednesday's House International Relations Committee hearing does not imply any significant change to U.S. policy toward cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

    Lin noted that the basic U.S. policy toward cross-strait relations is that the political status quo should not be unilaterally changed and that any cross-strait disputes should be resolved by peaceful means.

    He said Taiwan must let the international community understand that Taiwan perceives its present identity as that of an independent sovereign state with the official title of "the Republic of China." "This perception is universally recognized by the 23 million Taiwan people, particularly after Taiwan became a full democracy with its people allowed to directly elect the head of state, " Lin said, adding that this status quo cannot be changed unilaterally without the consent of the people of Taiwan.

    Lin further said that the current cross-strait issue mainly lies in Beijing's unwillingness to renounce its option of using force against Taiwan.

    Noting that Taiwan has no intention of unilaterally changing its present status quo as an independent sovereign state, Lin said Beijing should not arbitrarily distort Taiwan's new constitution plan as a unilateral move to change the status quo or use it as an excuse to attack Taiwan.

(By Sofia Wu)

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