09/28/2006, 00.00
CHINA – TAIWAN
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Beijing angry over Taiwan's plans to change its constitution

The Chinese government lashes out at Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian for proposing changes to the constitution, renaming the island, and redefining its territorial borders. Washington also voices its opposition.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Chinese government will not tolerate President Chen Shui-bian's decision, announced yesterday, to change Taiwan's constitution and rename the island. "We will never tolerate their seeking de jure independence by amending the constitution," said mainland China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi.

"We will closely watch and be on high alert to new developments," he added, calling Mr Chen's plan a "splittist" and "base" act that would threaten peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the Asia-Pacific region.

"It once again demonstrates that he has never had credibility and his political personality has completely gone bankrupt," Mr Li told a regular news conference in Beijing.

Mr Chen's ruling Democratic Progressive Party is studying constitutional changes to name the island the "Republic of Taiwan", instead of "Republic of China", and redefine the island's national territory.

Mr Li said Mr Chen's move was made for personal gain amid mounting political pressure.

Protesters across Taiwan have called for him to step down for weeks over allegations of corruption.

The US also warned Mr Chen on Monday against seeking to bring in the changes.

"The United States does not support independence for Taiwan, and we continue to be opposed to unilateral changes in the status quo by either side," US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

In Taiwan, opposition lawmakers presented their second motion to oust the president in three months on Tuesday, although the chance of success was remote because they lack a two-thirds majority in the legislature.

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