Taiwan: Independence Activists Demand US Change 'One China' Policy
Dozens of Taiwan independence activists demonstrated outside the de facto US embassy here demanding Washington review its "one China" policy which opposes any change in the island's status.
The demonstrators raised their fists in air while chanting slogans and holding placards reading "Respect Taiwan's mainstream opinions" and "Support President Chen (Shui-bian)" during the rally in Taipei.
The US State Department last month reiterated that Washington "does not support Taiwan's independence and opposes unilateral changes to the status quo by either Taiwan or Beijing."
Mainland China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949 but Beijing regards the island as a part of its territory to be reunited, by force if necessary.
Washington's statement was in reaction to remarks by Taiwan's independence-leaning President Chen saying he would "seriously consider" abolishing guidelines on reunification with China and the body that created them, a move that could anger Beijing.
"We're issuing this in the wake of some comments by President Chen in Taiwan that we don't want to be inflammatory or send the wrong signal, so we thought it useful to reiterate US policy on the subject," deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli had said.
Eliminating the guidelines could fuel Beijing's suspicions that Chen is pushing for independence for the island.
"US officials' comments were an interference in Taiwan's internal affairs," the group of demonstrators said in a statement.
They demanded the United States apologize and review its "one China policy".
Washington, which is obliged by law to offer Taiwan a means of self-defense if its security is threatened, is the leading arms supplier to the island despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.