Chinese law may make invasion of Taiwan 'legal'
London Times | March 7, 2005
By Clifford Coonan in Beijing
THOUSANDS of people took to the streets of Taiwan to protest against China’s proposed anti-secession law yesterday as the National People’s Congress in Beijing prepared to rubber-stamp the Bill that has prompted fears of a Chinese invasion.
The Taiwanese are worried that the anti-secession law, certain to pass through the annual session of parliament this week, will be used by China as a legal basis for invasion. Their fears were underlined by a proposal to increase military spending by 12.6 per cent, the latest double-digit rise in Beijing’s arms budget.
Li Zhaoxing, China’s Foreign Minister, said it would allow nobody to stand in the way of its bid to reclaim Taiwan. “Any practice of putting Taiwan directly or indirectly into the scope of Japan-US security co-operation constitutes an encroachment on China’s sovereignty and interference in internal affairs,” he said. “The Chi nese Government and people are firmly against such activity.”
The National People’s Congress is generally a talking shop where laws drawn up behind closed doors by the Communist Party’s top cadres are routinely approved by grassroots representatives. With Taiwan prominent on the agenda, it has attracted more interest this year.
About 20,000 people attended demonstrations in southern Taiwan.
Beijing claims that Taiwan is a renegade territory and has not ruled out reunification by force. It has claimed sovereignty over the island since the end of the civil war in 1949, when the defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan from the Communist-held mainland. China has stationed hundreds of missiles just across the Strait of Taiwan.
The US has pledged to help to defend the island, but it is worried that a conflict would compromise its interests in China’s booming economy.
Mr Li adopted a more conciliatory tone on dealings with the United States and Japan when he said that disputes with the two countries should be resolved by dialogue and that China was not a threat to anyone.
Washington and Brussels are at loggerheads over the European Union’s plan to end an embargo on arms sales to China. Washington fears that if the situation deteriorates, EU-made arms could be used against US soldiers protecting the island.