Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Sunday, March 14, 2004

Premier: Taiwan referendum threatens stability

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday the referendum scheduled for March 20 by the Taiwan authorities under the pretext of democracy poses a threat to stability across the Taiwan Straits, and challenges the universally acknowledged one-China principle.


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday China will never allow anyone to separate Taiwan from the motherland by any means, while striving for peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity and greatest efforts.

Wen said he would like to have his message taken to Taiwanese compatriots that there is only one China in the world, and the Taiwan Straits can never sever the "blood relations" shared by Chinese both on the mainland and in Taiwan.

The mainland will strive to maintain stability across the Straits with the utmost efforts and push for direct mail service, trade, air and shipping services across the Straits, as well as cross-Straits economic, cultural and personnel exchanges, the premier said at a press conference after the close of the nationallegislature's annual session.

The mainland will strive for an early resumption of cross-Straits dialogue and negotiations under the one-China principle and for the eventual peaceful reunification of the motherland, the premier said.

Wen said the referendum scheduled for March 20 in Taiwan, which is sponsored by the Taiwan authorities for Taiwan independence under the pretext of democracy, poses a threat to stability acrossthe Taiwan Straits, and challenges the universally acknowledged one-China principle.

The premier said he appreciated the international opposition tothe referendum, and the open statement on the one-China principle made by the international community, including the United States, is conducive to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.

"I hope the United States and other countries would honor theircommitment to the one-China principle, and make due contribution to maintaining stability across the Taiwan Straits and to China's peaceful reunification," Wen said.

The Taiwan issue, left over from China's civil war, is the internal affairs of China, and will eventually be resolved by the Chinese people on their own, said the premier.

China has sovereignty over Taiwan, which has been recognized bythe international community, he said.

Continuous support to HK
Premier Wen said that the central government will do everything conducive to the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and to the common development of Hong Kong and the inland of China.

"Our principle is that whatever is conducive to the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, to the common development of Hong Kong and the inland, we will actively do it and give our full support to it," he said when answering a question from Hong Kong press.

The premier said the central government holds an active attitude toward the upcoming issuance of 20 billion Hong Kong dollars of bonds in Hong Kong.

The premier attended a ceremony last June in Hong Kong where the agreement on the Mainland-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) was signed.

Wen reiterated that the central government will unsparingly uphold the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy as well as the Basic Law of Hong Kong.

The premier hoped that Hong Kong residents can be more united and work together for a better future.

"I sincerely hope that Hong Kong residents can take into consideration the broad situation of the long-term prosperity and stability as well as the long-term and fundamental interests of Hong Kong residents, be united and work together with firm determination for a better future of Hong Kong," he said.

People's Premier
The Premier also pledged that his government will stand new challenges and live up to the expectations of the people.

The premier called the year 2003 an extraordinary year as China won an "important victory" over the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome") and scored "obvious achievements" in its economic development. But the achievements are only a reflection of the past, he said.

"A wise nation is one good at learning, especially the one that is good at learning from difficulties," Wen acknowledged. The most crucial are the experience, lessons and revelation they have brought about instead of achievements.

This year's goal is to maintain a balanced, relatively-fast economic growth, the premier said. The most difficult problems involved agriculture, rural areas and farmers, and what he cares most are matters pertaining to people's interests.

The Chinese premier pledged to continue reform, innovation and forging ahead courageously.

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