US at odds with France on China anti-secession law

22nd April 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, April 21 (AFP) - A US official reiterated Thursday Washington's opposition to China's anti-secession law aimed at Taiwan, after France threw its support for the controversial legislation.

WASHINGTON, April 21 (AFP) - A US official reiterated Thursday Washington's opposition to China's anti-secession law aimed at Taiwan, after France threw its support for the controversial legislation.

"France has the right to its position ... our view is the anti-secession law is not helpful. If France has a different view then it is France's business," a State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official was reacting to French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's statement during a visit to Beijing Thursday that Paris had no objections to the anti-secession law, appearing to put it at odds with the European Union.

"The anti-secession law is completely compatible with the position of France," Raffarin said in a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao.

The law, adopted last month, gives China's military the legal basis to attack Taiwan if the island moves towards independence. Washington says the legislation is not helpful and raises tensions, and opposes any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo of cross-strait relations.

Taiwan and China have been separately governed since a 1949 civil war, but Beijing insists the island must be reunited, by force if necessary.

China is increasingly worried that Taiwan, under the leadership of independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian, is inching toward a formal breakaway.

The Taiwan issue is a constant source of friction between Beijing and Washington. Under US law, Washington is obliged to offer the democratic island a means of self-defence if its security is threatened.

Deputy US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli declined to comment on Raffarin's statement.

"I don't have any comment on what the French position is on the anti-secession law. What I can talk about is our position. And I think we've made our position clear," he said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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