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Jul 24, 2007

China makes a threat

According to the China Times, unnamed staff to Communist Party officials who decide Taiwan policy in Beijing as well as scholar Yu Keli (余克禮), deputy director of the Taiwan Research Institute under the China Academy of Social Sciences, have said Taiwan passing a referendum for Taiwan to enter the UN under the name "Taiwan" would be a violation of Chinese "anti-succession law" because it would be a "big change which could result in the seperation of Taiwan from China"「發生將會導致台灣從中國分裂出去的重大事變」 and that Beijing would be forced to react with "unpeaceful means and necessary measures" 「非和平方式及其他必要措施」.

The aide did not specify what "unpeaceful means" could include (firing missles over Taiwan, attacking, a blockade), but said that the "Five nos" promises of President Chen from 2000 wouldn't have been made without the Chinese threat on the eve of the election and subsequent American pressure. He implied the American pressure was related to the US having seen exactly what military measures Beijing was preparing.

At a closed-door meeting at the the Forum on Cross-Straits relations in mid-July between Yu, his associate director Zhou Zhihuai (周志懷) and a number of KMT assistants and scholars in Xining city of Qinghai province, Yu said Beijing is very concerned about the proposed referendum on Taiwan entering the UN now that it's blocked Chen's application. Yu told the KMT they should try and block DPP moves to hold the referendum, but Ma and other KMT officials ignored the CCP's advice because of election considerations and do not understand the sensitivity of the referendum to Beijing. The source says Beijing now feel the situation is grim.

This comes on the heel's of an announcement by Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office that "The soverignty and territory of China will be decided by the 1.3 billion Chinese people."

At the same time, DPP officials like MAC chief Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) suggests that if Beijing wants Taiwan to stop trying to enter the UN under the name Taiwan, then Beijing should recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan's official name).

After the rejection of Chen's letter today, KMT officials said that Taiwan ought to enter the UN with the name Republic of China, a reformulation of tehir earlier stance that Taiwan should enter under whatever name worked. We all know no name works.


So do they mean it? I think not quite yet since it's not an official announcement. If they want this sort of thing to stick they've got to say this exact formulation officially and publically.

So for now, it's just a scare tactic and not official policy, leaked perhaps to influence the blue base and to push the KMT against the referendum. There's room for that to work.

I think they've been careful to leave themselves lots of wiggle room in that bluster. Notice the official didn't say that holding the referendum would be a violation and would not pin down any consequence. I'm sure China doesn't know what it will do yet.

Edit: I suppose another possibility is that the CCP is intentionally giving the KMT room to push their own referendum that would focus on ROC or something. This allows the KMT to look like they're not submissive to the CCP while at the same time accomplishing a main CCP goal, shooting down a entering the UN with the name Taiwan referendum. Then again, this isn't much in line with what Ma Ying-jeou said today, that applying to the UN under the name Taiwan is "legitimate."


Raj said...

The Chinese are opposed to any referendum over Taiwan joining the UN - if the DPP's one is a "violation" of the ASA, their's should be too.

I think it's all bull-crap. China would never launch military action over that because the US would not buy the claim it was that serious. I think it could be a sign of worry that China is losing the peaceful argument for unification so they're defaulting to bully-tactics.

Michael Turton said...

Curious. Thanks, A-gu.