Key army role in body handling Taipei policy

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 July, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 July, 1993, 12:00am

BEIJING has disclosed the composition of the country's highest organ on Taiwan policy and national unification, the party Central Committee's Taiwan Work Group.

According to reports in the pro-China press in Hongkong, the group is headed by President Jiang Zemin, who is also party General Secretary and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Vice-head of the group is Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen.

Other core members include Secretary-General Wang Zhaoguo, who is also the head of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) of the State Council; the chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), Wang Daohan; Minister of State Security, Jia Chunwang; and the Assistant Chief of the General Staff of the Army, General Xiong Guangkai.

Diplomatic analysts have been struck by the heavy military and intelligence component of the group, which sets down major policies on relations with Taiwan.

The policies are adhered to by such government and quasi-official units as the TAO and ARATS.

General Xiong, considered a rising star in the Army, used to be in charge of the Second Department of the General Staff Department of the Army, which handles military intelligence.

Mr Jia, whose role includes intelligence gathering and counter-espionage, is dubbed China's top spy by Western analysts.

''China's policy towards Taiwan has been liberalised in the past few years, with the emphasis being placed on expediting direct economic co-operation'', a Western diplomat said.

''The heavy military component of the Taiwan Work Group shows, however, that the Communist Party is prepared to consider all options.'' The diplomat said that traditionally military officers, who have a relatively large say in Taiwan policy, had pushed a more ''hawkish'' line than either diplomats or civilian Taiwan specialists.

Analysts said that given the thaw in relations across the Taiwan Strait, the group led by Mr Jiang would take a pragmatic approach to increasing unofficial and quasi-official exchanges.

Wang Zhaoguo, who handles day-to-day administration on Taiwan affairs, is considered a moderate technocrat.

A former governor of Fujian Province and head of the Central Committee's General Office, Mr Wang is known as a protege of patriarch Deng Xiaoping.