Taiwan says 'reunification law' would put too much pressure on China

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Chess pieces are seen in front of displayed China and Taiwan's flags in this illustration taken January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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TAIPEI, March 24 (Reuters) - A senior Taiwanese official said on Thursday he did not see China adopting a "reunification law" as it would put too much pressure on Beijing to set a timetable for bringing the island under its control, which could severely raise tensions.

China, which views democratically run Taiwan as its own territory, has not officially proposed such legislation, which would be a follow-up to a 2005 law giving Beijing the legal basis for military action if it judges Taiwan to have seceded or to be about to.

But it has been discussed in state media, and last week a spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, asked about a suggestion from a political adviser for such a law, said they "carefully listen to and study opinions and suggestions".

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Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims and says only its people can decide the island's future.

Taiwan's National Security Bureau Director-General Chen Ming-tong, taking questions from lawmakers in parliament, said a Chinese proposal for such legislation had generated a lot of discussion previously.

"It's equivalent to setting a timetable. In the past, during the Deng Xiaoping era, they tried to set a timetable, but in the end thought it best not to, as it would put pressure on them," Chen said, referring to the Chinese leader who died in 1997.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told a Taiwanese envoy in 2013 that a political solution to their standoff on sovereignty could not be postponed forever, though he has never set a timetable.

China has ramped up its military pressure against Taiwan over the last two years or so, and the Taiwan Strait that separates the two remains a potentially dangerous military flashpoint.

Chen, whose last job was head of Taiwan's China-policy- making Mainland Affairs Council, said he did not think China was gearing up for an attack this year, as Xi was getting ready for a key Communist Party congress at the end of the year to confirm him for a third term in office.

"He needs to maintain stability," Chen said.

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Reporting by Roger Tung and Ben Blanchard

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