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Tension Mounts Between China, Taiwan

Tension Mounts Between China, TaiwanAChinese antisecession bill aimed at bringing the island nationof Taiwan back into the mainland's fold is heightening tensionin the region, and the consequences for China could be mixed,according to one Tufts expert.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.09.05] Chinese legislators are poised to pass a bill thatwould authorize the use of military force in the event of Taiwandeclaring its independence. One Tufts scholar says that the effectof the move – aimed at trying to convince Taiwan to giveup its independence movement – is uncertain.

''There'sno assurance of what will happen once the sword is out of thescabbard," Alan Wachman, associate professor of internationalpolitics at The Fletcher School, told The Boston Globe.

"TheCommunist Party can barely control China today. Even if it wereto win a war against Taiwan, how do you subordinate a nation of23 million educated, cosmopolitan and wealthy people who'd beunited in their hatred of China?" he said in the newspaper.

While Taiwanoperates independently of China, it is still legally part of theCommunist nation.

Last year,according to the Globe, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bianstated his intent to revise Taiwan's constitution – a movethe Chinese said would essentially be a statement of independence.

''SuddenlyBeijing felt itself to be losing control," Wachman explainedto the Globe. ''The antisecession law was conceived thenas a response to the anxiety China was feeling about Chen…as a measure to show firmness and resolve."

Taiwan's actionswere met with international criticism – causing Chen's partyto suffer in subsequent elections and prompting the leader tomake conciliatory gestures to China, the Globe reported.Despite Taiwan’s backpedaling, Beijing moved ahead withdrafting the antisecession bill.

''Things hadgone so far [with the antisecession bill] that it wasn't politicallyfeasible to withdraw it," Wachman told the Globe.''Now Beijing risks stirring up a benign situation, painting itselffurther into that awkward corner of promising it will fight awar it really doesn't want to."

As China struggleswith Taiwan, it is simultaneously making an effort to become moreinvolved with multi-national and humanitarian efforts around theworld, Wachman said.

China's outreach"has resulted in the announcement of agreements with statesin South America, Africa and the Middle East that suggest an expansionof the realms in which China is seeking to establish a greaterpresence," Wachman told China's official news service Xinhua.

"It reflectsa very real change in China's wealth and capacity to involve itselfmore broadly than it has in issues that only indirectly benefitChina," added Wachman.

But the UnitedStates, for one, has condemned the antisecession bill, showingthat how the Taiwan issue plays out will have an effect on internationalattitudes toward China.







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