TAIPEI (REUTERS) - A senior Taiwanese official said on Thursday (March 24) 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 regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunified, by force if necessary. China 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".
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," Mr 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.
"He needs to maintain stability," Mr Chen said.