President Hu Jintao yesterday denounced Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian for scrapping a policy-making council on unification with the mainland, warning that "anyone who moves against the trend of history is doomed to failure."
Hu called Chen's decision "a dangerous step forward towards Taiwan independence."
Despite repeated warnings from Beijing and strong opposition within and outside the island, Chen announced on Monday that the "national unification council" founded in 1990 shall "cease to function" and the "national unification guidelines" shall "cease to apply."
"It's a grave provocation to the one-China policy universally adhered to by the international community and cross-Straits peace and stability," Hu was quoted as saying during a meeting with visiting Swiss Defence Minister Samuel Schmid.
The president said Beijing has the unswerving will and determination to oppose Taiwan secessionist forces and their activities.
"We will continue to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification, but we will never tolerate the secession of Taiwan from the motherland," Hu said.
Also yesterday, Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top political advisory body, said Chen's "perverse acts will only end up hurting him."
He said the most important and urgent task now is to resolutely oppose and curb Chen's push for de jure "independence" of Taiwan through "constitutional re-engineering."
Earlier yesterday, the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council jointly issued a sternly-worded statement, pointing out that the risk and danger posed by Chen's push for Taiwan "independence" continue to rise.
"If he prevails, it will definitely heighten cross-Straits tension and seriously endanger peace and stability in the Straits and the Asia-Pacific region," it said.
"Chen's determination to take a radical pro-independence path to fully provoke antagonism and confrontation within Taiwan and across the Straits will only lead Taiwan society closer to disaster."
The statement also accused Chen of imposing the will of a handful of secessionists on 23 million Taiwan people.
"We will never allow secessionist forces to separate Taiwan from the motherland in any name or way," it said.
While singling out Chen for harsh criticism, the statement again calls for increased economic and cultural exchanges across the Straits.
It expressed concern for Taiwan people and promised to strive for the prospect of a peaceful reunification.
"Taiwan compatriots are our blood and flesh," it said. "Whatever the circumstances, we will be considerate towards Taiwan compatriots and try every means to consider and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests."
A newspaper poll in Taiwan showed a majority of 703 people interviewed opposed scrapping the unification council.
Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT) which favours closer ties with the mainland, has threatened "parliamentary" moves to oust Chen.
KMT Chairman and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that Chen should be removed from office for breaking a promise he made in his 2000 and 2004 inauguration speeches not to abolish the council or the guidelines.
Chen "disregarded public sentiment and destroyed his own promises," Ma told reporters. "We have only this method to express our strong dissatisfaction."
A US State Department spokesman in Washington, speaking on Monday before Beijing issued its statement, called on Chen not to take any unilateral steps to change the status quo.
Washington will continue to hold Chen "by his commitments not to make unilateral moves,?said the spokesman, Adam Ereli. "We attach great importance to that commitment, and we'll be following his follow-through carefully.?
But a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday urged Washington to take firmer action against Chen's secessionist move.
"We are urging the US side to get a clearer understanding of the severity and dangerousness of Chen Shui-bian's secessionist activities,?spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular news briefing. He said the United States should "take concrete actions to oppose Taiwan secessionist activities and send no erroneous signals to pro-independence forces?
China's eight non-Communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce also issued a joint statement yesterday, condemning Chen's move.
Source: China Daily