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U.S. Criticizes China’s Anti-Secession Law

Posted March. 09, 2005 22:40,   


The United States and China are having a heated confrontation over the issue of Taiwan, as if to give an example of the saying: "An eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth.” On March 8, China presented to National People`s Congress (NPC) a new anti-secession law that gives Beijing the legal basis to use force against Taiwan as a last resort. On this point, the U.S. immediately criticized China for “reversing the tension-easing mood for cross-Straits relations.”

The Chinese government has been consistently criticizing the U.S. “Taiwan Relations Act,” the legal basis for the U.S. to sell weapons to Taiwan, because it was thought of as a law that threatened to do harm to peace and security of Taiwan Straits. This time the countries’ roles are reversed

Will this become a legal battle between the U.S. and China?-

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan criticized the submission of the anti-secession law, saying, “The U.S. will urge the Chinese government to re-consider the possible approval of the bill.” He reaffirmed the U.S. belief that “We respect China’s principles and do not support Taiwan’s independence.” Still, he emphasized, “The U.S. is against any attempt to determine the future of Taiwan in a non-peaceful way.” State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said in a briefing that day, “In case non-peaceful methods are used to resolve the issue of Taiwan, peace and security in the region will face threats.”

The possible “intervention” of the U.S. is based on Taiwan Relations Act that was passed in April, 1979. This law stipulates the U.S. is against any “non-peaceful measures” concerning the future of Taiwan as “the peace and security of the Taiwan Straits is in the political, security, and economic interest of the United States.” China’s anti-secession law presupposes that it is only to be applied if the possibilities for a peaceful reunification are completely exhausted. However, it opens the possibility of using “non-peaceful measures” against Taiwan, which puts it at odds with the Taiwan Relations Act.

Up until now, China has put the blame on the U.S., saying that U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan threaten the peace of the Straits Relations. On this, the U.S. has consistently said, “U.S. domestic law regarding Taiwan Relations Law permits weapons sales to Taiwan in order to secure its self protection.

Doing harm to the Korean Peninsula?-

The Korean government expects the worst-case scenario to be a situation where conflicts between the U.S. and China on the Taiwan issue become fierce, resulting in a grave threat to peace and security to the Korean Peninsula. The Taiwan issue is directly linked to the top issue on the agenda for the Korea-U.S. alliance, the “strategic flexibility of U.S. troops stationed in Korea.” Not only that, it may either directly or indirectly have some impact on North Korea’s nuclear issues. The new head of the U.S. Pacific Command, William J. Fallon, criticized the law on March 8, saying, “China’s anti-secession law is of no help in easing tensions in Strait relations.” At the same time, he pledged that mobility forces ready for immediate action in the Asia-Pacific region would be in place, irritating China.

So far China has never been complacent, saying, “The U.S. troops in Korea have turned into a U.S. mobile forces in East Asia, and this deployment targets China.” An official in the Korean government said, “The U.S. is appropriately taking advantage of the Taiwan issue in order to actively involve China in resolving the North Korean nuclear issues, whereas China is pursuing the opposite strategy.” He added, “The Taiwan issue cannot be negligible on the Korean Peninsula.”

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com