- 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
- 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
- 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)