BEIJING: China branded Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's policies the “greatest threat to peace and stability” in the region, hours after he was inaugurated for another four years.
“Chen Shui-bian's provocative pro-independence activities form the biggest current threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The comments came after Chen, long seen by China as a dangerous advocate of independence from the mainland, was sworn in for a second term as Taiwan's leader.
“We stick to the basic policy of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems', and are willing to strive for a peaceful solution of the Taiwan issue with the greatest sincerity and effort,” the statement said.
“But we will absolutely not tolerate Taiwan independence. That position is firm and unshakable,” it said.
“One country, two systems” is the formula adopted for Hong Kong since its return to Chinese rule in 1997, but was originally coined by Beijing as a model for reunification with Taiwan.
Analysts said Beijing did not trust Chen, and would want to see concrete actions to back up his words.
“Mainland China no longer trusts him. It doesn't care what he says.
“What matters are his actions,” said Wu Nengyuan, the pro-Beijing director of the Institute of Modern Taiwan Studies at the Fujian Academy of Social Sciences.
“His goal for Taiwan independence hasn't changed. This is what the Chinese government was worried about.
“I'm not optimistic about cross-straits relations.
“I expect there will be intense confrontation, a crisis coming. It depends on what Chen Shui-bian does.
“If he pushes Taiwan independence past China's baseline, then it's dangerous.”
Gilles Guiheux, director of the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China, called Chen a clever politician, and said China had little choice but to get used to having him around, regardless of whether they trusted his intentions.
“He talks about building a mutually beneficial relationship with China. He talks about building mutual trust.
“It's a very smart declaration. It'll be difficult for China,” he said. – AFP