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Taiwan May Step In, Help Hong Kong     12/10 06:13

   TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwan's top diplomat says his government stands with 
Hong Kong citizens pushing for "freedom and democracy," and would help those 
displaced from the semi-autonomous Chinese city if Beijing intervenes with 
greater force to quell the protests.

   Speaking to The Associated Press in Taipei on Tuesday, Foreign Minister 
Joseph Wu was careful to say his government has no desire to intervene in Hong 
Kong's internal affairs, and that existing legislation is sufficient to deal 
with a relatively small number of Hong Kong students or others who seek to 
reside in Taiwan.

   But he added that Hong Kong police have already responded with 
"disproportionate force" to the protests. He said that any intervention by 
mainland Chinese forces would be "a new level of violence" that would prompt 
Taiwan to take a different stance toward helping those seeking to leave Hong 
Kong.

   "When that happens, Taiwan is going to work with the international community 
to provide necessary assistance to those who are displaced by the violence 
there," he said.

   "The people here understand that how the Chinese government treats Hong Kong 
is going to be the future way of them treating Taiwan. And what turned out in 
Hong Kong is not very appealing to the Taiwanese people," he added.

   China's Communist Party insists that Taiwan is part of China and must be 
reunited with it, even if by force. Modern Taiwan was founded when Chiang 
Kai-shek's Nationalists, who once ruled on the mainland, were forced to retreat 
to the island in 1949 after Mao Zedong's Communists took power in the Chinese 
Civil War.

   Beijing has suggested that Taiwan could be reunited under the "one country, 
two systems" model that applied to Hong Kong after the former British colony 
was returned to China in 1997. That agreement allowed Hong Kong to keep its 
civil liberties, independent courts and capitalist system, though many in Hong 
Kong accuse Beijing of undermining those freedoms.

   Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has said that the "one country, two 
systems" model has failed in Hong Kong and brought the city to "the brink of 
disorder."

   Government surveys earlier this year showed that about 80% of Taiwanese 
citizens oppose reunification with China.


(KR)

 
 
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