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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 09:40 GMT
Taiwan scraps unification council
President Chen Shui-bian
China has called President Chen a "troublemaker"
Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian has said he plans to shut down a council set up to oversee the island's eventual unification with China.

The move to abandon the National Unification Council and its guidelines will infuriate China, analysts say.

China believes Mr Chen is pushing for Taiwan's formal independence, which China pledges to use force resisting.

China earlier warned Mr Chen that shutting the council would "trigger a serious crisis".

Mr Chen announced the closure after a meeting of Taiwan's National Security Council.

"The National Unification Council will cease functioning and the budget no longer be appropriated," he told reporters.

Mr Chen said the decision to close the Council was due to China's "military threat".

Taiwan complains that China has been building up its military offensive capability across the Taiwan Strait, and has at least 700 ballistic missiles targeting the island.

'Absurd'

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since a civil war ended in 1949, but China still sees Taiwan as its territory and has threatened to use force if the island moves towards declaring independence.

Map

The US, Taiwan's closest ally in the face of this threat, has made clear that it supports the status quo, and did not want the Council to be scrapped.

Mr Chen's wish to get rid of the Council and its guidelines has long been known, despite his pledge upon taking office in 2000 that he would not scrap it or its guidelines.

Last week he reaffirmed this view when he told visiting US Congressman Robert Simmons that the National Unification Council and its National Unification Guidelines were "absurd products of an absurd era".

"It deprives the Taiwan people's rights to freely decide on cross-strait relations and the future direction of our country," he said.

But Beijing has expressed strong opposition.

"The escalated secessionist push of Chen Shui-bian will certainly trigger a serious crisis across the Taiwan Straits and destroy peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region," the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office said in an online statement late on Sunday.

"Chen Shui-bian is a troublemaker for Taiwan, for cross-strait relations and for the Asia Pacific region," it added.

The National Unification Council was set up in 1990 as an attempt to convince the Chinese authorities that Taiwan was committed to reunification, and it helped kick-start landmark talks between the two sides in the early 1990s.


What do you think of President Chen Shui-bian's decision to scrap the National Unification Council. Do you think Taiwan should push for formal independence from China?

Your comments:

I think President Chen Shui-bian's decision to scrap the National Unification Council is because of China always refuses to talk to Taiwan's Authorities and has been threaten to use force. Although, I agree with President Chen's Decision to scrap the National Unification Council, bI still disagree with Taiwan push for formal independence from China.
Gloria Chiu, Taipei, Taiwan

To scrap the Council does nothing good for teople in Taiwan but causing the tension in and out of the island. Chen knows Taiwan independence is just a dream. Without a close connection with Mainland China, Taiwan will suffer very soon.
Chin-wen Leu, Taipei,Taiwan,Republic of China

I think Taiwan has every right to push for formal independence. Taiwan has as much right to be free from Chinese media and internet censorship as well as terrible human rights abuses as the next country. The international community needs to back Taiwan up urgently.
Zachary Barker, Bristol

We Taiwanese are all fully support to President Chen's decision. Taiwan is Taiwan, China is China, they are two independent countries since World War Two. The Per Capita GNP of Taiwan is over 16,000 USD, and China is only around 1,200 USD, there is no reason to force Taiwan be unified by China!
David Chang, Taiwan




SEE ALSO
Chen repeats China council threat
22 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
China brands Chen 'troublemaker'
08 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Alarm at hint to scrap Taiwan body
06 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
China and Taiwan resume flights
20 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Storm across the Taiwan Strait
22 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Military balance goes against Taiwan
09 Mar 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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