. China News .

China's Hu warns Taiwan against independence move
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 8, 2012

China's President Hu Jintao warned Taiwan Thursday against any moves towards independence but called for the two sides to continue the exchanges that have helped ease their longtime rivalry.

"We resolutely oppose any separatist attempt for Taiwan independence," Hu said in an address to his ruling Communist Party's five-yearly congress.

"The Chinese people will never allow anyone or any force to separate Taiwan from the motherland by any means," Hu said in the speech, in which he also stated his country's intention to become a "maritime power" and further build up its military.

China regularly issues such warnings on Taiwan but relations between the two sides have warmed considerably under Hu. Semi-official talks between China and Taiwan resumed in 2008 after being suspended for more than a decade.

Hu will hand over leadership of the party at the end of the congress next Wednesday and step down as president in March.

He said the two sides "should sustain cross-straits exchanges and cooperation," and "promote consultation on an equal footing".

"We should fully protect the rights and interests of our Taiwan compatriots," he said.

Although the two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949, China still claims Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification.

China is Taiwan's largest trading partner and the island's main investment destination. But many Taiwanese are wary of the military threat posed by China, which has threatened to invade if the island declares independence.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, the top policymaking body on cross-strait issues, pledged in response to abide by its "One China" policy which has markedly reduced tensions and called for joint efforts to maintain peace.

In a statement the council said it would push for continued peaceful and stable development of relations.

It said detente with the mainland, initiated by the island's President Ma Ying-jeou, had won the comprehensive support of Taiwan's people and was in the interests of people from both sides.


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