China flays Taiwan prez for rejecting call for closer ties

Beijing, August 9:

China today lashed out at Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian’s rejection of its call for closer economic and tranport links, saying his pro-independence rhetoric would come back to haunt him. Chen “still sticks obstinately to his ‘Taiwan independence’ stance” by rejecting China’s call for expansion of economic and other exchanges, Xinhua news agency quoted a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office as saying. Chen last Saturday rejected Beijing’s “One China” policy which defines Taiwan as a part of China and the “One country, two systems” framework — modelled on Hong Kong and Macau’s return to China. According to Taiwanese media, Chen also said Taiwan would only negotiate with China in a

“government-to-government mode” — a position unacceptable to China because it regards the island as a renegade province. He also said his government preferred not to open direct transport links if they could not be managed properly.

China said Chen was only trying to foment discord. “He has even wantonly slandered the mainland to stir up confrontation and further impair relations across the strait,” said the spokesman. “He will only make himself more isolated and put himself in a more difficult situation. He will eventually reap what he has sown,” the spokesman said. Direct cross-strait flights had been banned since the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. The two rivals launched their first direct passenger flights in February. But Taipei suspended talks on more charter air services after Beijing in March enacted a controversial anti-secession law.