US News Beijing renews its threats against Taiwan
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CHINA-TAIWAN: Beijing renews its threats against Taiwan
BEIJING (Reuters) - China will attack Taiwan if there is not another way to prevent it from becoming independent, warned one of the country's highest generals on Friday, heightening the threat of the use of force against the island considered by Beijing as a rebel province.
The Taipei government reacted to these declarations by denouncing threats contrary to international law. The Taiwanese people will not choose dictatorship and will not submit to violence, the Taiwanese Continental Affairs Council warned in a statement.
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Speaking at the Grand People's Palace in Beijing on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the anti-secession law, Li Zuocheng, head of the joint staff department and member of the central military commission, threatened to resort to this 2005 law which gives China the legal basis for military action against Taiwan if the latter secedes or appears to be on the point of doing so.
"If the possibility of peaceful reunification fails, the people's armed forces will take, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, all the measures necessary to decisively crush any plot or separatist action", a- he declared.
Even if Beijing has often used war rhetoric to intimidate Taiwan, it is rather rare that a senior officer in post does so in such an explicit and public way.
China is particularly wary of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, re-elected hands down last January and considered by Beijing as a separatist determined to proclaim the independence of the island.
Last week, in a speech at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress (ANP), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang refrained from using the adjective "peaceful" when referring to the will of a "reunification" with Taiwan, a semantic shift which already suggested a change of position.
(Yew Lun Tian, with Yimou Lee in Taipei; French version Claude Chendjou, edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)
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