Friday, March 11, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world.

The Japan Times

China and Taiwan

TOKYO — The agenda for the current National People’s Congress of China reportedly includes an anti-secession bill for preventing the independence of Taiwan. The Chinese leadership wants to have the bill enacted by the end of the session on [Monday]. The contents of the draft legislation have not been made public, but according to reports in Hong Kong newspapers and other sources, it embodies Beijing’s intention to resolve the Taiwan problem by “nonpeaceful means” in the event certain conditions arise. The conditions that are listed in the bill reportedly include a declaration of independence by Taipei, an outbreak of riots in Taiwan and military intervention by foreign forces.

If an exercise of Chinese military force became a reality, Japan … could not write the matter off as a “fire on the other side” since such a development would directly impact its own security.

In response to calls for it to relinquish the use of military force as an option against Taiwan, China until now has explained that if it did so, Taiwan would probably declare independence immediately. …

In practice, however, if China were to actually exercise military force against Taiwan, strong criticism from the entire international community would block China’s road to becoming an economic superpower. Therefore, statements by Beijing about “peaceful unification” with Taiwan and “maintenance of the status quo on the Taiwan Strait” can be seen as not simply slogans but the true feelings of the leadership centered [on] President Hu Jintao.

The Times

Defeat of terrorism bill

LONDON — The humiliating defeats in the [House of] Lords on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill are not only an extraordinary setback two months before an expected general election; they are also a telling indictment of the muddle, incompetence and myopia that have characterized the sloppy handling of this vital issue. The defeats are too resounding to be brushed aside by a government desperate to enact legislation to replace the current detention powers that expire on Monday. …

The government is now almost certainly obliged to accept most of the Lords amendments — in particular the involvement of a judge in any initial decision to impose any type of control order, not just the most severe form of house arrest. …

The sticking point, however, is the call for a sunset clause, which the government will not accept. …

Khaleej Times

The crisis in Lebanon

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Lebanon crisis appears to be far from over. Even as the Syrian troops began withdrawing from Lebanon [and] moving back from Beirut to eastern Lebanon, the West led by the United States further stepped up the pressure on Damascus. Full withdrawal, not half-measures, warns Washington.

And quite right, too. Syria must demonstrate in action rather than words that it is serious in its commitment to withdraw from Lebanon. The Syrian leadership would do well to read the writing on the wall and wake up to the seriousness of the situation. …

As a well-wisher of Syria and its people, we would advise Damascus to go ahead with the full withdrawal plan today rather than tomorrow in its own interest. There is no time to lose. …

La Stampa

Crisis of credibility

TURIN, Italy — Once the wave of emotions and national mourning has calmed down, words turn toward politics in circumstances which have never been this delicate or complex.

It is now a matter of containing the crisis of credibility between the administrations of the two governments. As much on the Americans as on the Italians … falls the duty of avoiding that this could short-circuit the alliance which has lasted half a century.

The White House knows that a prolonged … crisis could have a fatal end — the breaking of the Italian chain with the coalition.

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