President Chen Shui-bian (
"A consensus without any consensus is the best consensus for the time being. The real spirit of the consensus of 1992 is to keep dialogue and communications going and put disputes on the shelf," Chen said.
"We will continue from the point where we left off," Chen said, referring to a verbal agreement both sides reached in 1992. Chen says that the essence of that consensus was that both sides could agree to disagree.
China disputes Taiwan's interpretation of the 1992 talks, saying that the two sides agreed that there is one China, of which the island is an inseparable part.
Chen's comments yesterday were made during his second formal press conference since he took office on May 20.
Chen said that since his inauguration he had made many gestures of goodwill toward China, however, the new government has received little positive reaction from China.
"Many people have told me that I have already given China too many offerings of goodwill and that we shouldn't yield any more. However, I think we have to be patient and wait for the other side," Chen said.
"Leaders from both sides have spent too much time fighting a war of words. If both sides continue to argue and debate over areas where no clear consensus has been reached, we will see no progress and reach no conclusion," Chen said.
Responding to questions over whether he would use secret envoys as President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) did during his administration to strengthen communications, Chen only said that the existing framework for dialogue was sufficient.
"Former President Lee has taught me many things, but using secret envoys is not one of them. And I have yet to find any files or records in the Presidential Office [relating to such activities]," Chen said.
"Whether or not the former president actually sent secret envoys remains to be seen, but as for the new government, Koo Chen-fu
Chen said that Taiwan would continue to use its semi-official channel, the Straits Exchange Foundation, to communicate with China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.
"We will continue to use the existing framework for communication," he said.
Chen also said that comments by US Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who recently expressed a hope that cross-strait dialogue could reopen within six months, were encouraging.
Chen welcomed the US reaffirmation of its more active role in facilitating relations between the two sides.
"Cohen's statement is based on intelligence reports from the US which show that there is currently no tension, no crisis and no overbearing pressure in the Taiwan Strait," Chen said.
"The US suggests that we seize this opportunity. We have already done everything we can [to prepare for reopening negotiations]," Chen said.
In addition to cross-strait affairs, Chen spent the majority of his time yesterday addressing domestic matters. Chen spoke of the recent Pachang Creek
Chen also revealed details of his plans to visit Central America and Africa in mid-to-late August.
"Taiwan should step out and show the rest of the world the new government of the Republic of China," Chen said.
With the president and Vice President Annette Lu (
Chen said that the problem was not one of gender but of character.
"I am a man who is patient, I would like to cooperate with her. The only thing is that we need to give her more time to adjust," he said.
On the Pachang Creek tragedy:
If human lives are not made the top priority, tragedies [like that at Pachang Creek] will happen again.
On the question if the president should transfer power to the vice president during his 13-day overseas trip:
When the president is out of the country, it does not mean that he no longer exists. I am still the head of state and commander-in-chief of the country's military.
On former president Lee's comment that Taiwan is stepping into the 'Second Republic' stage:
I am the 10th president of the Republic of China according to the Constitution. I am not the president of Second Republic of China.
On the 'white terror' of the past with should be forgiven but not forgotten:
The new government will never let mothers cry alone in the dead of night.
On shipping nuclear waste to North Korea:
We shouldn't dump what we don't want on others, it would be immoral to use deceitful means.
On the question of nuclear energy:
[People] should not think that nuclear power is the only or final choice.
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