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US House Criticizes China Bill on Taiwan Secession

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a resolution sharply criticizing China for the approval by the National People's Congress in Beijing of a law authorizing the use of military force against Taiwan in the event of any secession attempt by Taipei.

The resolution expresses grave concern about the anti-secession law, saying it will escalate tensions across the Taiwan strait and make dialogue between Taipei and Beijing more difficult.

Resolution co-sponsor Congressman Chris Smith says it is unfortunate the anti-secession law came at a time of optimistic developments in cross-strait relations.

"It is unfortunate that Beijing has now chosen once again to be its own worst enemy by dissipating all the good will generated through such gestures by stubbornly pursuing this provocative and ill-timed measure,” he said. “Contrary to the observations of Chairman Mao, cross-strait issues will never be resolved by resorting to the barrel of a gun."

The resolution reflects rising concern in Congress over what many lawmakers see as a dangerous trend of military buildup by Beijing.

Noting the deployment of short-range ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan, it says this buildup is a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific.

Congressman Steve Chabot, a member of the House of Representatives Taiwan Caucus, says Beijing's deployment of missiles and enactment of the anti-secession law work against the Taiwan Relations Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1979.

"The future of Taiwan should be determined by the people of Taiwan,” he said. “Any effort by the Communist leadership in the People's Republic of China to deny a free people in Taiwan a safe, prosperous, and democratic future should be condemned."

The resolution says the anti-secession law provides a legal justification for Beijing to use force against Taiwan, in its words, altering the status quo in the region.

President Bush has stated that the United States opposes any attempt by either Beijing or Taiwan to change the status quo.

Although it is not binding and expresses only the sense of the House, the House resolution says President Bush and U.S. officials should reaffirm U.S. policy on a peaceful resolution of Taiwan's future and express Washington's grave concern.

Approval of the House resolution came as Taiwan's president urged his citizens to protest the law, calling it invasive and adding it will serve to drive China and Taiwan further apart.