Thu, Aug 03, 2000 - Page 1 News List

KMT undecided on all-party talks

PLAYING HARD TO GET KMT Chairman Lien Chan remains undecided about whether to attend the all-party round-table meeting called by the president, but the party is entering into preparatory talks

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT Chairman Lien Chan, standing, meets with the new DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh yesterday at DPP headquarters. The two discussed preparations for a proposed round-table meeting between the heads of Taiwan's political parties.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), chairman of the DPP, met his KMT counterpart Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday for talks widely hoped to bring about a decrease in animosity between the DPP-led government and the KMT-dominated legislature.

The meeting was notable for being the first time that a KMT leader has ever called upon the DPP, something that Lien pointed out while expressing his congratulations to Hsieh on the latter's inauguration as the DPP's ninth chairman.

At their meeting the two party leaders agreed to open more dialogue between the DPP and KMT and to accelerate the attainment of better interaction between parties in accordance with the principles of party politics.

There was, however, no resolution of the issue that the meeting had actually been called to address, namely the KMT's participation in a round-table meeting of the heads of Taiwan's major political parties called by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Hsieh urged Lien to attend the meeting but the KMT chairman said that his attendance was dependent upon what issues were on the agenda. Lien, however, did say that KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) had been assigned to attend the preparatory discussions and hammer out an agenda for the round-table meeting with his DPP opposite number Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁).

Lien is scheduled to depart for the US today for a month-long trip.

"It is possible that the KMT is still hesitant about attending the round-table meeting," said Wu, speaking to the media after the Hsieh-Lien meeting.

"On the basis of Lien's remarks today, however, the presidential round-table meeting will probably proceed," he said.

During the 30-minute meeting, Lien also said that parties should have mutual respect and interact in a mature fashion, while Hsieh agreed that interaction carried out in good faith would be conducive to the eradication of emotional and ideological conflicts between rival parties.

"Dialogue and exchange has been undertaken by both parties on either side of the Taiwan Strait. So why not between political parties [in Taiwan]?" Hsieh said.

Others taking part in the Hsieh-Lien meeting from the KMT included party spokesman Jason Hu (胡自強), director-general of the party affairs department Cheng Feng-shih (鄭逢時) and deputy director of the policy committee James Chen (陳健治).

Participants from the DPP included central standing committee member Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), social promotion department director Lee Wen-ying (李文英) and spokeswoman Phoenix Cheng (鄭運鵬).

Some political analysts saw yesterday's meeting as an attempt to highlight the importance of party politics over the "government for all the people" (全民政府) strategy adopted by the president.

"Political interaction is very important. The concept of `government for all the people' is based on the concept of party politics," the KMT's Chen said, hinting that the new government still needed the KMT's support.

Following his meeting with Lien, Hsieh visited the Presidential Office for his weekly Wednesday meeting with President Chen. He then returned to DPP headquarters and addressed reporters again.

"The concepts of party politics and `government for all the people' are not mutually exclusive," said Hsieh, quoting remarks reportedly just made to him by the president.

Hsieh said that the president was pleased to see that the DPP and KMT had met and he hoped that there would be more harmonious political interaction. Hsieh added that the president would assign acting Secretary-General to the President Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) to work out details for preparatory discussions for the round-table meeting.

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