Reuters News Report


China's explanation of Anti-Secession Law

Monday Mar 7, 2005

BEIJING (Reuters) - China released an English-language text of an explanation of China's draft anti-secession law delivered by a senior lawmaker to parliament on Tuesday.

The details, released by Xinhua news agency, were given by Wang Zhaoguo, vice chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress, or parliament. The bill is due to be approved on March 14.

A key excerpt follows:

"We have consistently stood for reunifying the country through peaceful means. People on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese and the Taiwan compatriots are our own brothers and sisters.

"No one is more desirous of achieving a peaceful reunification than we are. So long as there is a glimmer of hope for peaceful reunification, we will exert our utmost to make it happen rather than give it up.

"At the same time, let us be absolutely clear that safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity is the core interest of our country and our nation and the common obligation of all Chinese people, our Taiwan compatriots included.

"We have never forsworn the use of force. No sovereign state can tolerate secession and every sovereign state has the right to use necessary means to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Using non-peaceful means to stop secession in defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity would be our last resort when all our efforts for a peaceful reunification should prove futile.

"The draft legislation provides that in the event that the 'Taiwan independence' forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China should occur, or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"The draft legislation also provides that the State Council and the Central Military Commission are authorized to decide on and execute non-peaceful means and other necessary measures, and promptly report to the Standing Committee of the NPC.

"It needs to be stressed here that should the 'Taiwan independence' forces insist on going their own way and leave us with no other option but to employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures, such means and measures would be completely targeted against the 'Taiwan independence' forces rather than in any way against our Taiwan compatriots.

"The draft legislation clearly provides that in the event of employing and executing non-peaceful means and other necessary measures, the state shall exert its utmost to protect the lives, property and other legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan civilians and foreign nationals in Taiwan, and to minimize losses; at the same time, the state shall protect the rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots in other parts of China in accordance with law."

US terms law "unhelpful"

The United States on Tuesday urged Beijing to reconsider what it called an "unhelpful" anti-secession bill that gives China the right to attack Taiwan, and it warned against the use of force.

"We view it as unhelpful and something that runs counter to recent trends toward a warming in cross straits relations (with Taiwan). We call on Beijing to reconsider passage of the law," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

China, which views self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, outlined an anti-secession bill on Tuesday that would allow military force to head off any independence bid by Taiwan.

"We oppose any attempts to determine the future of Taiwan by anything other than peaceful means," McClellan said. "We oppose any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo."