China's Hu says Beijing wants peaceful unification with Taiwan

China's Hu says Beijing wants peaceful unification with Taiwan, but won't tolerate independence

China won't tolerate formal independence for Taiwan, President Hu Jintao said Friday as parliament prepared to enact an anti-secession law that leaders in the self-ruled island fear could lead to a military attack.

"We will continue to make our greatest efforts with the utmost sincerity to seek the prospects of peaceful reunification," Hu said at an official gathering, according to the government's Xinhua News Agency. However, he said, "We will never tolerate 'Taiwan independence' and never allow the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces to make Taiwan secede from the motherland under any name or by any means."

The comments echoed longstanding mainland policy toward Taiwan, which has been ruled separately since 1949 but is claimed by Beijing as part of its territory. The communist government has threatened to attack if Taiwan tries to make its de facto independence permanent. China's legislature, which opens its annual session Saturday, is due to pass an anti-secession law that officials say is aimed at discouraging Taiwan from pursuing independence.

Hu was speaking to delegates appointed by Beijing to represent Taiwan in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to the mainland parliament, according to Xinhua.

"The intensified activities of the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces have posed a grave impact on the peaceful and stable development of across-Straits relations," Hu was quoted as saying. He accused Taiwan leaders of pursuing "creeping independence," Xinhua said.

"The Taiwan authorities have deliberately provoked antagonism across the Taiwan Straits and tried every means to undermine the status quo that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China," Hu said.

"If we do not oppose and check the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces and their activities resolutely, they will certainly pose a severe threat to China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity, ruin the prospects of peaceful reunification, and harm the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation."

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