Seanad debates

Wednesday, 23 March 2005

7:00 pm

Photo of Noel TreacyNoel Treacy (Galway East, Fianna Fail)

I wish to make a statement to the House on the Government's views regarding the decision of the Chinese National People's Congress to pass an anti-secession law.

Since 1971, when Ireland voted in favour of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, we have recognised the Government of the People's Republic of China, as the sole legitimate Government of China. Ireland, together with its EU partners, adheres to the One China policy and, therefore, accepts that Taiwan is a part of China.

The anti-secession law, which was debated an approved by the National People's Congress on Monday, 14 March 2005, is formulated, according to Article 1 of the law, "for the purpose of opposing and checking Taiwan's secession from China, by secessionists in the name of "Taiwan independence", promoting peaceful national reunification, maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, preserving China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation".

The law reiterates the position of the Government of the People's Republic of China that there is only one China, that Taiwan is part of China, and that China will never allow Taiwan, to"secede" from China by any means. The law further states that the resolution of the Taiwan question and achieving national reunification is China's internal affair and that it will not accept interference from outside forces.

It is important to note that Article 5 of the law recognises that the peaceful reunification of China best serves the fundamental interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits and goes on to say that China will do its utmost, to achieve a peaceful reunification of the country. Article 5 also states that once the country is reunified, Taiwan may practice systems different from those on the mainland and enjoy a high degree of autonomy.

The law also sets out the means by which links might be improved between China and Taiwan, including personal visits, developing economic and trade links, cultural exchanges, air and sea connections, exchanges in the fields of education, science, technology, health and sports, and co-operation in combating crime.

The law also states that any negotiations with Taiwan will be on an "equal footing between the two sides" and sets out the steps by which the such negotiations might take place, including officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides, mapping out the development of cross-straits relations, steps and arrangements for peaceful national reunification and the political status of the Taiwan authorities. Despite the many positive elements contained in the law, Article 8 also provides that in the event of Taiwan's secession from China or the prospects for peaceful unification having been exhausted, non-peaceful means shall be used to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. While the threat of the use of force by the Beijing authorities to prevent Taiwanese independence is not new, its restatement in this manner gives rise to concern.

On 14 March 2005, the EU issued a declaration on the law, in which it expressed its continued adherence to the One China policy, to the resolution of differences between China and Taiwan, by peaceful means, and its opposition to the use of force. The declaration also called on all parties to avoid any unilateral action, which might aggravate tensions across the Taiwan Straits, and expressed the concern that the legislation might impact negatively on the recent improvement in links, between China and Taiwan including the inauguration of flights, between China and Taiwan, at the time of the Chinese New Year. These concerns were also conveyed to the Chinese authorities by a Troika of EU Heads of Mission at Beijing on 12 and 14 March last, just over ten days ago.

The Government fully supports the position adopted by the EU on this matter as expressed in this declaration. The Government continues to examine these issues with our EU partners in the context of our overall relationship with China, our ongoing commitment to human rights and the broader regional and international context. This position has also been conveyed to the Chinese ambassador in Dublin.

Ireland and our EU partners believe it is important that both China and Taiwan avoid actions which could serve to exacerbate existing tensions. We continue to emphasise the importance of dialogue between the two sides so that a peaceful solution may be found. We will continue to convey this position in all our contacts with the Chinese authorities.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.