Beijing anti-secession law and Taiwan anti-annexation bill

Beijing/Taipei (AsiaNews/Scmp) – Tension is rising in the Taiwan Strait as Beijing's controversial anti-secession law is going to be submitted for approval by the full session of the National People's Congress on March 6. The annual session of the Chinese parliament will open on March 5 and is expected to last for 10 days. According to official sources, NPC Standing Committee vice-chairman Wang Zhaoguo would present the draft to the 3,000 legislators and will explain why Beijing wants the law that will give it a legal basis to use force against Taiwan if it declares formal independence.

The bill was officially endorsed for ratification during December's 13th session of the 10th NPC Standing Committee. At that meeting, NPC chairman Wu Bangguo reiterated Beijing's position that the purpose of the law was to prevent Taiwan becoming independent.

In the same period, early next month, Taiwan's pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) will take to the streets to seek support for its proposed "anti-annexation" legislation.

The March 6 event in Kaohsiung, which the TSU expects to attract 50,000 people, will take place on the same day that Beijing's anti-secession legislation is submitted to the National People's Congress for approval. TSU policy research director Lee Hsien-jen said the party had completed the draft bill. "The anti-annexation bill is aimed at safeguarding the political integrity of the island and its independent sovereignty, seeking to maintain cross-strait and regional peace and stability as well as pursuing cross-strait equality and co-existence". The bill would empower the government to adopt necessary defence measures to protect the interests of Taiwanese people and the island

Experts say Beijing had already aimed 600 missiles at the island, while Taiwan is trying to modernize its military capability. Taiwan government wants to buy arms from the United States worth NTD 610.8 billion (15.3 billion) euro), but opposition lawmakers have held up a special budget for the weapons for months. They say that buying submarines, Patriot missiles and anti-submarine planes could spark an arms race with China that would bankrupt Taiwan, increasing the provocation against Beijing. The president has accused the opposition of being too accommodating toward the communist giant and is going to meet opposition representatives in order to smooth the differences.

The China – Taiwan tensions is flowing also in the US. The United States has chosen for the "one China policy" (there is only one China, not China and Taiwan), but it is bound to two conditions: that reunification between Beijing and Taipei should happen peacefully; in case of a China attack the US will defend Taiwan.

In these days  the Bush administration is under pressure from Congress to strongly oppose Beijing's anti-secession law. "The Chinese government is moving the situation closer to a violent conclusion," said Carolyn Bartholomew of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

"It is simply unacceptable" for US President George W. Bush, who has vowed to champion freedom during his second term in office, "to allow the free and democratic people of Taiwan to fall under the domination of China's authoritarian government", Ms Bartholomew said.

Her Congress-mandated commission has been pushing for a tough US approach to China on trade and security. US lawmakers have attacked the planned legislation and have asked the mainland's parliament for a copy of the statute, which has not been made public.