ANTI-SECESSION LAW HELPS ENHANCE TAIWAN IDENTITY: PREMIER
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 15 (CNA) Premier Frank Hsieh said Tuesday that China's enactment of its Anti-Secession Law means both a crisis and an opportunity for Taiwan.
Fielding questions at a Legislative Yuan interpellation session, Hsieh said the anti-secession legislation targeting Taiwan exposes the true nature of China's bellicosity. "The enactment of the Anti-Secession Law has made China the only country in the world to codify war as a means of resolving disputes," Hsieh said, adding that the act runs against the mainstream world trends of pursuing peace, reconciliation and co-existence.
China's rubber-stamp National People's Congress passed almost unanimously the law that authorizes the use of "non-peaceful means" to stop Taiwan from seeking formal independence. "Such an ill-intentioned piece of legislation will only make the world understand that China's conviction that power comes from the barrel of a gun has not changed, " Hsieh said, adding that Beijing has invited criticism from all over the world for enacting the controversial law.
In contrast, he went on, Taiwan has invariably committed itself to safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and has consistently sided with the democratic camp.
Meanwhile, he said, the Anti-Secession Law has helped enhance local people's consciousness of Taiwan's separate identity from that of China, citing the results of the latest opinions polls that show more than 90 percent of the respondents voiced opposition to China's new legislation. "Although we are all very angry at Beijing's ill-motivated legislation, we must remain calm and refrain from any irrational extreme reaction," Hsieh said.
The lawyer-turned-politician further said Beijing's new law has actually altered the peaceful status quo across the Taiwan Strait and that the present situation meets the requirement for Taiwan to hold a defensive referendum to protect its sovereign status.
Nevertheless, he continued, the nation should exercise self-restraint to let the world understand that Taiwan is a peace-loving country that is determined to make every possible effort to protect cross-strait peace.
Asked if he will take part in a March 26 street parade to be organized by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to protest the new law, Hsieh said: "As a Taiwanese I want to join but now I'm also the premier and I have to consider (the consequences) . My presence might give the impression that the activity is organized by the government."
Meanwhile, Hsieh said that President Chen Shui-bian and the National Security Council (NSC) are weighing the law's possible impact on Taiwan from a broad perspective. "The NSC will monitor international reaction as well as the sentiments and feelings of the people on both sides of the strait until the end of this month, " Hsieh said, adding that the government will then decide whether and how to revise its cross-strait policy.
Before the deadline, Hsieh said the government will not consider any proposal about the opening of cross-strait charter flights or personnel and commercial exchange programs.
(By Sofia Wu)
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