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China to set new Taiwan policy at party congress

China to set new Taiwan policy at party congress

Delegates to the 17th Congress of the Communist Party of China will come up with a new policy to prevent Taiwan from declaring independence, a senior party official said.
"The congress will set a new direction for Taiwan affairs," Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council, said yesterday in a briefing in Beijing. "It will be critical to determining cross-strait relations going forward." Li gave no further specifics.
A total of 2,217 delegates will gather in Beijing October 15 to elect a new party leadership and set new policies for the next five years. The congress, which takes place every five years, is expected to re-elect President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and his government for another five-year term.
"We object to any move towards Taiwan independence," Li said.
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is proposing a referendum for the self-governing island to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan at the same time, a proposal China has branded as tantamount to declaring independence.
Warning on Matsu
Li also warned Taiwan's military not to install missiles on Matsu, an outlying island Taiwan controls. "Don't play with fire because you'll be burned," He said.
Despite the harsh rhetoric on Taiwan independence, China sought to smooth over scuttled plans to include Taiwan in the torch relay for next year's Beijing Olympics, saying residents of the island were welcome to join in cultural and other exchanges surrounding the games.
The comments followed last week's clanging end to 10 months of negotiations on taking the relay to Taiwan, which fell apart over Taiwan's opposition to Chinese conditions that no national flags be waved along the route or national anthem sung during the relay.
Both Beijing and Taipei accused each other of seeking to exploit the event for political gain after the International Olympic Committee told the sides the issue was closed.
Li said Beijing Olympic organizes had demonstrated "extremely full sincerity and patience" in the negotiations.
"At this stage, I can only express regret," Li said.
"However, as regards this matter, we still strongly welcome Taiwan compatriots to actively participate in Olympic Games-related activities such as sports culture exchanges, Olympic training and competition activities, Olympics-related volunteer activities and so on," Li said.
Taiwan, which has never been included in an Olympic torch relay, had objected to its placement on the route ahead of Hong Kong, saying that it would make it appear to be part of Chinese territory. Taipei also accused Beijing of introducing last-minute conditions on the display of Taiwanese flags and national symbols along the route.