- The Chinese President Jiang Zemin has warned Taiwan that
his government is prepared to use force to block any independence move
from the island. The threat came with Taiwan still reeling from the devastating
earthquake which struck on 21 September.
- President Jiang used an international gathering of business
executives to remind Taiwan of China's determination to recover the island,
which has been estranged from the communist-ruled mainland since 1949.
- "No country will allow its own territory to be split
off, nor will it allow any foreign force to create or support such a split,"
he told the meeting of about 800 executives and officials in Shanghai.
- Eventual resolution of the Taiwan issue was "certain"
and China aimed to reunify with the island peacefully, he said.
- China considers Taiwan to be a renegade province.
- Repeating long-standing policy, Mr Jiang said: "We
will not undertake to renounce the use of force precisely for the purpose
of bringing about a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question."
- 'State-to-state' relations
- Relations between Beijing and Taipei have been strained
since Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui declared in July that bilateral ties
must be conducted on a "special state-to-state" basis.
- China's bitter reaction to Mr Lee's remarks included
a series of threatening statements in communist-controlled newspapers in
Hong Kong and the renewed threat to use force to prevent independence.
- Even in the aftermath of the earthquake, Beijing has
repeatedly demanded that President Lee withdraw his remarks, prompting
Taipei to accuse Beijing of mixing politics with relief efforts.
- Following reports that Beijing had obliged foreign countries
to seek its blessing when sending aid and relief teams to Taiwan, the Taiwanese
Foreign Minister, Jason Hu, said China was "looting a burning house".
- Taiwan has rebuffed Beijing's offer to send help.
- In his speech, Mr Jiang once again extended condolences
for the more than 2,000 deaths from the earthquake.
- He also spent a considerable amount of time defending
China's human rights record.
- Correspondents said his tone was incongruous, given that
his audience had come to Shanghai to hear an endorsement of China's economic