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MAC Chairman Jaushieh Joseph Wu Makes Remarks on the Anti-separation Law at January 7, 2005 International Media Press Briefing. (MAC News Briefing No. 0423, 07/01/2005)

Published: January 7, 2005 Source: Government Information Office. Republic of China (Taiwan) On January 7, 2005, Minister of Taiwan's Government Information Office, Lin Chia-lung invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chen Tan-sun; Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, Jaushieh Joseph Wu; and Vice Minister of National Defense, Tsai Ming-hsien, to discuss the issue of "China's 'Anti-separation Law' vs. Regional Peace" with members of the international media. Over 40 foreign correspondents stationed in Taiwan were on hand to hear about the government's position and opinions. The aim of the event was to further understanding in the international community of the "anti-separation law" that is currently being drafted by China, and the likely negative impact it will have on cross-strait interaction, national security and regional peace. The government officials shared the view that enactment of such a law pays no attention to the actual political situation across the Taiwan Strait and ignores the sovereign existence of the Republic of China. They urged the international community to immediately work to block passage of the proposed law in an effort to avoid unilateral changing of the stable status quo and to prevent damaging the peaceful development of cross-strait relations. Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, Jaushieh Joseph Wu, stressed that the international community has not made even the slightest comment regarding China's intention to pass legislation that would severely impact Taiwan, and this, he said, will actively encourage China to continue or intensify its verbal assaults and military threats against Taiwan. The general opinion in the international community at present is that any response to the "anti-separation law" must wait until the articles and content of the law are announced. This will be too late, however. With this in mind, he urgently called on the international community to immediately stop China. Wu added that the government's goals of reducing misunderstanding between the two sides and fostering mutual trust by establishing normalized interactions with China remain unchanged. China must curtail its intention to draft an "anti-separation law," however, since this will erect an obstacle to improved cross-strait relations and reduced tensions. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chen Tan-sun, said that the proposed "anti-separation law" is established on a fictitious "one China" principle, a fictitious "internal issue" and a fictitious "peaceful unification." He said China's drafting of an "anti-separation law" represents China's monopolizing of the right to interpret the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, while its threat to use military force against Taiwan already poses a danger to regional peace. Chen said the law would restrict the Taiwan people's right to free choice, thus directly challenging democratic values. Minister Chen suggested that a historical lesson should be drawn from the international community's appeasement of the Nazi theory of natural boundaries, which ultimately triggered World War II, and he called on the international community to work together to prevent China from unilaterally taking any action to change the status quo. He said that only through this can peace and democracy be ensured in the Asia-Pacific region. Vice Minister of National Defense, Tsai Ming-hsien, said that China's drafting of the "anti-separation law" is aimed at erasing any domestic differences in China's Taiwan policy, expressing to the international community its determination to reunify the country, and establishing a legal basis for possible use of military force against Taiwan in the future. Tsai said that Taiwan's armed forces will continue to strengthen their military might in the face of China's unwillingness to abandon the possible use of force against Taiwan and the challenges presented by the rapid modernization of China's military. He said Taiwan will establish sufficient military capability to ensure its own safety and to deter China's military invasion. Regarding the impact that China's "war on three fronts" (legal warfare, propaganda warfare, and psychological warfare) against Taiwan have had on the situation in the Taiwan Strait, Tsai said that, under the concept of total defense, the Ministry of National Defense will continue to publicize its policies so that the people will be aware of the potential dangers and not fall prey to China's psychological intimidation, united front tactics, and attempts at division. Responding to a question from Bloomberg News as to how Taiwan interprets China's unilateral drafting of the "anti-separation law" while at the same time expressing a desire to work with Taiwan on launching cross-strait Lunar New Year charter flights, Minister Wu said that China has traditionally adopted a carrot-and-stick approach toward Taiwan. On the one hand, it seeks to express its goodwill, while on the other hand it seeks to put pressure on Taiwan. Wu said that even if the two sides were able to reach agreement on charter flights for the upcoming holiday, this would by no means indicate that Taiwan is willing to accept the "anti-separation law." He said that Taiwan has continuously pursued cross-strait peace and stability, but would not sit by idly should China take any unilateral action to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. A reporter from Singapore's MediaCorp TV asked how, since the United States' Taiwan Relations Act and China's proposed "anti-separation law" are both domestic laws, Taiwan might expect the United States to oppose the "anti-separation law" under the current framework of the Taiwan Relations Act. Wu responded that the legal spirit and content of the Taiwan Relations Act and the "anti-separation law" are different; the former aims to protect the rights and freedoms of Taiwan's people and provide Taiwan with sufficient means to defend itself, while the latter is primarily a legal excuse for China to use military force against Taiwan and to unilaterally change the status quo. A correspondent from the British Broadcasting Corporation asked how Taiwan might let the international community know that its public opposes the legislation of the "anti-separation law." Vice Minister Tsai replied that, according to the most recent public opinion poll, 70 percent of Taiwan's people oppose China's institution of the "anti-separation law." In response to this move by China, Tsai said the Taiwan government will air its policies clearly and establish a proper understanding among Taiwan's public as to the military threat posed by China. He said the government will use the implementation of the "total defense" concept to put Taiwan's people on their guard against China's psychological intimidation, as well as its united front tactics and attempts at division. Tsai added that the government will use all available avenues to present Taiwan's standpoint, and hoped that the media will present the people's wishes, so that support might be gained from the international community. In response to a query from the Hong Kong-based Asian Wall Street Journal regarding the status of the special arms procurement budget, Tsai stressed that Taiwan's defense policy is based on the principles of "effective deterrence," "defense of national territory," and "prevention of war." Tsai said that, in the face of China's continually increasing military threat, Taiwan has both the determination and preparation to defend itself. He said that the three major weapons included in the arms procurement are urgently needed by the military to prepare against war. He hoped the Legislative Yuan will pass the budget as soon as possible in order to strengthen Taiwan's defensive capability and deterrent force, and to ensure national security. A correspondent from the Voice of America asked whether the attitude of the United States toward the "anti-separation law" has any relation to China's rapid economic rise and current counter-terrorism issues. With regard to China's espousal of the "one-China" policy, Minister Chen said that the international community should not stay silent out of fear, as such an attitude of appeasement will only create more tension across the Taiwan Strait. He urged countries throughout the world not to appease China, as this would only make a regime that already endangers peace become even more provocative. A reporter from the Asian Wall Street Journal brought up the issue of the Indonesian summit dealing with the South Asian tsunami disaster from which Taiwan was excluded due to China's political pressure. Minister Chen replied that, out of compassion for those suffering, Taiwan's government is committed to contributing US$50 million in humanitarian aid. It is also an opportunity to repay the concern shown to Taiwan by the international community following the Taiwan earthquake of September 21, 1999. While he regretted that Taiwan was not able to participate in the summit despite assistance from the US, Chen said that people throughout the world could see for themselves the concern shown by Taiwan, and that Taiwan has the ability to provide assistance to those around the world who need it. The event was attended by correspondents from well-known international wire services such as the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and Bloomberg News, as well as reporters from the Financial Times of England, British Broadcasting Corporation, Voice of America, Hong Kong's Asian Wall Street Journal, South China Morning Post, and Ming Pao, Singapore's Straits Times and MediaCorp TV, and Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun and Nikkei News; in all, by more than 40 correspondents from international media sources in Taiwan. It is hoped that, through reports issued by these media sources, international understanding of these issues will be promoted.