Beijing's 'warning' to world

Chris Yeung

PUBLISHED in seven languages, the first White Paper on the Taiwan question issued by Beijing is more for world consumption than the 21 million people on the Kuomintang-ruled island.

Similar to the White Paper on human rights published in November 1991 and the White Paper on the Tibet issue released in September last year, the 12,000-word paper was announced amid looming threats of the so-called ''internationalisation'' of the Taiwanissue.

The common purpose of the three White Papers is aimed at winning sympathy from the world community for China's reunification cause, while warning ''hostile'' foreign forces not to meddle in what Beijing called its ''internal affairs''.

Despite criticism against domestic pro-independence activists on the island for blocking Beijing's efforts to end the 44-year separation, harsher words were used to lambast foreign countries - mainly the United States - for causing all the fuss.

It was the intervention of foreign forces which was the ''main reason'' for the emergence of the ''Taiwan question'' at the end of World War II.

It was ''with the support of the US'' that part of the Kuomintang faction established its foothold in Taiwan after 1949, creating the separation across the Straits.

The White Paper said the US had created obstacles for the cultivation of a peaceful atmosphere across the Straits by, for example, selling military weapons to Taiwan.

International forces were also to be blamed for fuelling the pro-independence calls in the island.

The messages, if not warnings, for the international community were spelled out three weeks before the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The Taiwan Government is set to mount a large-scale lobbying drive to win world sympathy for its cause to play a greater role in international affairs and achieve its goal of ''re-entering'' the world body in three years.

The White Paper is a timely reminder to foreign countries, particularly the Third World states, that they run the risk of losing Beijing if they go too far in fostering official ties with Taiwan.

In a broader context of Sino-US relations, the sharp attack on Washington came amid signs of growing unease between the two major powers.

In a tit-for-tat move in protest against the US decision to impose economic sanctions for the Pakistan missile affairs, Deputy Foreign Minister Liu Huaqiu pointed a finger at Washington for selling jet fighters to Taiwan.

The dispute over arms sales, allegations of carrying banned chemicals in a Chinese cargo ship, and the strong opposition among congressmen on Beijing's bid for the 2000 Olympics have deepened fears in Beijing that they were again victimised by what it called ''American hegemonism''.

The White Paper was sharply attacked across the Straits as a meaningless document, failing to offer new policies on the reunification stalemate, although that was never supposed to be among its aims.

Until the two sides sit down and talk, it is almost impossible for any official concessions from Beijing on its bottom lines, such as the renunciation of the use of military force and its stance on reunification under Deng Xiaoping's formula of ''one country, two systems''.

Publicly, Taiwan officials criticised Beijing for its ignorance of political reality and ''stereotyped mode of thinking'' by trying to blockade Taiwan in joining international bodies.

Taiwan's premier Lien Chan said: ''Faced with the problem of China's reunification, one cannot just talk about ideals and ignore the facts. It is a fact that China has been divided for 50 years.''