Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 21st March 2005.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour/Co-operative, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Chinese authorities on its new law with regard to possible conflict with Taiwan.

Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

As I said in my reply to Mr. Moore on 16 March 2005, Hansard, column 338W, Ministers have taken a close interest in the development of China's Anti-Secession legislation. We have discussed it on a number of occasions at Ministerial and official level with the Chinese, in meetings both before and after its enactment.

Although the legislation refers to China's desire to resolve the issue peacefully, we are concerned that it makes reference to the possibility of the use of non-peaceful means". Our view is still that the Taiwan question should be settled peacefully through negotiation between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. We remain strongly opposed to the use of force, as we have consistently made clear to all, including the Chinese.

In addition, the EU issued a Statement on 14 March recording its opposition to the use of force to resolve this issue.

We continue to appeal to both sides to avoid unilateral measures which might heighten tensions. Instead, we encourage both sides to continue the progress of recent months through the implementation of practical measures.

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