Sat, Nov 25, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Direct links to be worked out early next year

OPENING UP The secretary-general of the Executive Yuan said the issue of cross-strait links will be tackled in the early part of next year in spite of the uncertainty of how the government will define `one China'

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government is ready to lift its ban on direct cross-strait shipping and business links despite an ideological deadlock over the "one China" principle.

Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) yesterday said the government will start work on opening direct cross-strait shipping and trade links with China in the first part of next year at the earliest.

The government will also relax its "no haste, be patient" policy on cross-strait investment, Chiou added.

Chiou made the remarks during a meeting with lawmakers.

Chiou said an inter-ministerial panel consisting of the Mainland Affairs Council, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is expected to finalize its review of these two policies by the end of the year.

Timetables to implement the policies will be worked out by the panel, according to Chiou.

"The Executive Yuan will be able to start relevant work needed to implement the policies early next year if everything goes smoothly," Chiou said.

On the issue concerning the government's position on the "one China" principle -- a condition set by China as the restoration of cross-strait dialogue and a basis of direct cross-strait shipping -- Chiou said he believes the President's Advisory Group on Cross Strait Relations (兩岸跨黨派小組) will hammer out a conclusion by year end.

"The conclusion will be a very crucial source of reference for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)," Chiou said.

While the DPP has been trying to break through the "one China" framework embraced by the former KMT-ruled government, debates have raged within the DPP as the party decides on a common definition of "one China."

Reiterating her disapproval of China's interpretation of the "one China" principle yesterday, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said that accepting China's concept would be tantamount to "surrender."

"Some people have been taken in by Beijing's tricks and are dancing to Beijing's tune that pushes for unification," Lu said during a public speech at a presbyterian church.

Lu said Taiwan should stop deceiving itself by claiming that "Taiwan represents the `one China.'"

Also yesterday, DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) said his party is trying to find a way to present the issue with different wording to avoid the use of "one China."

"Discussion on cross-strait relations will hit a roadblock as long as it is made under the framework of `one China,'" Wu said.

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