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Official: Separatism ‘Poisonous' to Straits Relations (03/28/02)

Any form of Taiwan "independence" will poison cross-Straits relations and heighten tension and confrontation -- eventually damaging the interests of Taiwan compatriots -- a Taiwan affairs official said on March 27.

Proclaiming the so-called World Taiwanese Meeting -- with the theme of "independence for Taiwan" held in Taipei on March 17 -- a "farce," Li Weiyi, spokesman of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said any separatist activity in any form of Taiwan independence will be absolutely opposed by all Chinese.

The second annual World Taiwanese Meeting agitated "rectifying the name of Taiwan" and "drawing up a state constitution."

Li said such actions have angered anti-Taiwan-independence people and organizations in the island who criticized those Taiwan independence elements as "tools of foreign anti-China forces."

At the meeting, some leaders of Taiwan authorities put forward five so-called desperate fights: "fight for economy;" "fight for diplomacy;" "fight for security;" "fight for rectification of name" and "fight for constitutional reform."

Also at Wednesday's regular press conference, Li announced the mainland was willing to set up a non-governmental mechanism with Taiwan to resolve the problem of a fishing labor exchange across the Taiwan Straits.

"We hope to have further discussions on this matter and quickly establish a cross-Straits non-governmental consultation mechanism to resolve this issue at an early date," Li said.

The spokesman urged Taiwan authorities to adopt measures to truly guarantee legal benefits for mainland fish industry workers and to allow the cross-Straits fishing labor exchange to develop in a healthy way under a good environment.

The mainland has prevented its workers from taking jobs with Taiwan fishing companies since February. Many Taiwan fishing companies rely on the cheap laborers for their operations due to a local labor shortage. However, it is reported that basic rights of mainland workers were not guaranteed.

Li also confirmed that representatives from Taiwan's fishery associations arrived in the mainland on March 15 to hold talks with the mainland's Cross-Straits Cooperation and Coordination Committee to resolve the problem.

Turning to reports that former Taiwan "National Security Bureau" accountant Liu Kuan-chun, who skimmed off interest earnings from the bureau's secret fund, has escaped to the mainland, Li said it was totally groundless rumors.

When asked to comment on the suggestion by Lee Chu-feng -- the "magistrate" of the offshore county of Jinmen -- to use Jinmen as an experimental plot of the "one country, two systems" policy, Li did not give a direct answer but said that those thoughts in the interests of local people will be realized in the future.

Li also confirmed the Beijing-based People's Bank of China has approved the applications of two Taiwanese commercial banks to operate in the mainland, noting the relevant departments are legally examining another six applications.

"We have always welcomed Taiwanese banks to establish offices in the mainland," said Li.

Beijing has approved United World Chinese Commercial Bank to open an office in Shanghai and Chang Hwa Commercial Bank to open its office in Kunshan in Jiangsu Province.

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