Jiang Says Taiwan Will
Reunify With China
Within 50 Years
LONDON (Agence France Presse) - Taiwan will return to the Chinese fold in the first half of the next century, China's President Jiang Zemin said in an interview published in The Times newspaper here Monday. "By the middle of next century... we will resolve the question of Taiwan and accomplish the great cause of national reunification by adhering to the policy of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems,' after the successful return of Hong Kong and Macau," said Jiang.
On Tuesday Jiang embarks on the first trip to Britain by a Chinese president.
China has considered Taiwan to be a renegade province since the Chinese Nationalists fled there in 1949 after a civil war with the Communists.
In 1997 Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule under the "one country, two systems" scheme which allowed the territory to maintain its free-wheeling capitalist lifestyle while under communist Beijing rule.
The tiny Portuguese enclave of Macau will return to Chinese rule in a similar fashion in December.
Commenting on steps to improve Sino-US relations, harmed by the NATO bombing of Beijing's embassy in Belgrade in May, Jiang said the United States should stop its arms sales to Taiwan and "refrain from creating new obstacles on the question of Taiwan and other matters, as they are detrimental to the improvement of China-US relations".
The US Congress is currently discussing a bill to allow fresh exports of US arms to Taiwan, an island off the east coast of mainland China.
Also the United States and Japan have launched a defense cooperation project in the anti-ballistic missile field, which China is insisting must not involve Taiwan.
China has succeeded in "maintaining stability and prosperity in Hong Kong," Jiang said, adding that the examples of Hong Kong and Macau "will serve as a significant example in our efforts ultimately to resolve the question of Taiwan and achieve complete reunification.
"Different from the questions of Hong Kong and Macau, the question of Taiwan is a result of the civil war in China and is all-in-all China's internal affairs," he told the paper.
"Our offer for the settlement of the Taiwan question is even more generous than those for Hong Kong and Macau," Jiang added.
"We do not undertake to renounce the use of force but this is by no means directed at our compatriots in Taiwan. It is directed at those foreign forces trying to interfere in China's reunification."
The Chinese leader also cited the recognition of Taiwan as part of the People's Republic of China as prerequisite for talks with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The other condition would be the recognition that Tibet, where there is an independence movement, is part of China.
Amnesty International and members of the Free Tibet campaign have said they will demonstrate outside Buckingham Palace Tuesday when Jiang meets Queen Elizabeth II.
Jiang, who visited Britain once when he was mayor of Shanghai, said that there exists "a strong complementarity between our two economies" with good prospects for economic co-operation and trade. ((c) 1999 Agence France Presse)